Why Do Smart Republican Economists Continue to Claim that ObamaCare Is Causing a Significant Fall in Full-Time Employment Right Now?: Equitable Growth Notes for October 5, 2013
Max Sawicky shows up writing for the extremely useful Economic POlicy Institute: Obamacare Isn’t Causing an Increase in Part-Time Employment, in One Chart:
One of the more baffling messages in the current debate over the economy and “Obamacare” is the hue and cry over the trend in part-time employment. The fact is that since the end of the Great Recession, the trend in part-time employment has been down, not up…. The navy blue region show the level of workers who are part time due to “non-economic” reasons (health, child care responsibilities, etc.). The vertical bars denote recessions, from peak to trough.
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers will be required to provide insurance to workers who work for more than 30 hours a week. This mandate does not take effect for another year. There is no reason why anticipation of it should increase part-time employment in the meantime. And at any rate, such employment has been falling before and after the passage of Obamacare. For more on this, see articles by Jared Bernstein and Paul Van de Water and Helene Jorgenson and Dean Baker. For more on the employer mandate, see this post from EPI’s Josh Bivens.
Yet we have Michael Boskin at the NABE, from my notes:
I agree with the reasonable percentage of what Brad had to say. I do want to raise two points; there is widespread evidence that healthcare reform, whatever you think of it, is a major reason why there has been a surging part time employment. If you just look at the last Beige Books, I think four or five of the 12 district banks reported surging part-time employment and that full-time employment growth was lagging…
And Greg Mankiw:
A Striking Labor Market Fact: John Lott points out the following: "So far this year there have been 848,000 new jobs. Of those, 813,000 are part time jobs.... To put it differently, an incredible 96% of the jobs added this year were part-time jobs."
What are they thinking?
I mean, some employers are going to drop hours below 30 a week once the employer pay-or-play hits. But we won't see that until the February 2015 employment report, and there is no reason for employers to start that eighteen months in advance. It isn't there in the data. And nothing would lead anybody to expect that it would be visible in the data right now.
So why are they claiming that it is?