Fact Check: Employers are not cutting back workers hours because of Obamacare
September 27th, 2013
03:01 PM ET
1 year ago

Fact Check: Employers are not cutting back workers hours because of Obamacare

Assertion
Obamacare is not causing an increase in part time employment.

“There were many people who speculated that when this law came into place that it would add to the cost and there would be a lot more part-time workers instead of full-time workers… so far, that's not true. There has not been an increase in the percentage of our employment in part-time work.” Former President Bill Clinton.

Facts

Obamacare requires that businesses with at least 50 full time employees - defined as those working at least 30 hours a week - provide workers with health insurance. As a result, critics say, companies have responded by downsizing below 50 workers and cutting shifts below 30 hours.

As shown in the chart below – using Bureau of Labor Statistics data - the share of full-time workers (in red) has dropped, while the share of part-timers (in blue) has risen. And they make up a greater portion of the American workforce. This change happened during the recession in 2009. However, the change is very slight.

part v fulltime 1

But is it because of Obamacare? Who knows?.

Meanwhile, data from BLS shows that temp work is way up.

surge in temp employment 2

Then again, Clinton was trying to get at the heart of the anti-Obamacare business argument: that workers are suffering somehow. Critics say businesses will dodge Obamacare by cutting hours.

There is lots of anecdotal evidence that this might be happening. But looking at the average weekly hours in the industries mostly likely to be affected, there is little evidence of a significant change. Sure, average weekly shifts at retail bakeries has tanked below 30 hours. But that’s not been the case for grocery stores, or restaurants, or retail clothing shops as the graph using BLS date indicates.

Avg weekly hours 3

Verdict: Clinton statement is false. He is saying definitely that it isn’t true that there has been an increase in the percentage of workers who are part time employees. There has been, though the change appears to be slight. Also, it is difficult to say with complete assurance that this change is the result of Obamacare. Moreover, the requirement that employers provide health insurance has been delayed until 2015. So we may have a clearer picture as we get closer to that deadline.


Filed under: Fact Check Obamacare
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    What?!?!? You mean Faux "News" is not telling the truth?

    September 27, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    FACT! - "Who knows?" No data to back up the assertion that Obamacare is the cause of increased part-time workers!

    Oh, and by the way, "Clinton's statement is false" is beside the point. Fine, he's wrong about part-time workers on the rise, though according to your data it's a very slight increase. "there is little evidence of a significant change". So Clinton was only barely wrong. And what does that have to do with Obamacare being the proven cause of any statistical blips either way? Nothing!

    September 27, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. don in albuquerque

    My oh my. Another in the long line of GOTP lies debunked. My personal favorite is "Doctors are going to "Ferign Countries" because of Obamacare. Exactly where is this mythical "ferign country"? Almost all the industrialized or civilized nations of the world are single payer. Except us. Civilized?

    September 27, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    My neighbors' granddaughter, late 20s, was describing how the owner of the small business where she works was complaining about the Obamacare, and the added health care cots that it was going to add. She said that because of the high cost to provide "to you employees" health care, that he cannot afford to offer them fully benefited health care insurance.

    First of all, they don't have health care insurance right now, as it is. Second, only fourteen people worked at the small business. We explained to her how her boss was lying to them, trying to discourage them from getting health insurance. And, of courxe, we explained the biggest lie that he told.... ... that his business was way to small to require him to provide employees with health insurance.

    September 27, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. poor57

    I've been duped!!! Obamacare does absolutely NOTHING for the poor (which soon will be more since employers are reducing workers to part time–it's there people, I've seen it!). Make too low of income for tax credits and because of our idot Governor, Rick Scott in Florida, Medicaid was turned down. So the people who need healthcare the most are being discriminated against because they are poor! Obama said, "We can't have people choosing between being sick or going broke!" Well, how about BOTH!!! No choice there. All these years holding onto a sliver of hope that I won't worry about going into more debt or not suffering through health problems. Obviously, Obama and Gov. Rick Scott have no respect for the poor by trying to sweep this under the rug, and the poor certainly have no respect for them! Wait until poor people realize they won't be getting ANY help through Obamacare! hat's next for the poor? Shipping us off in trains to camps? Get them both out of office!!! Frauds!!!

    September 27, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. tom l

    Here's a fact fact fact. It is indisputable that there are less people working today full time than when Obama took office. 5. Years. Later.

    September 27, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    Poor57

    Please stop blaming President Obama. Blame your governor. He is the one that could care less whether you can afford insurance. President Obama made it happen, your governor could care less.

    September 27, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Dean

    They might not be cutting back hours but like UPS, Pennys and Walgreens companies are dropping insurance coverage for employees or dependents alltogether.

    September 27, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Steve

    Imagine that...Bill Clinton caught lying (again)

    September 27, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. thinking outside the box

    Dean
    They might not be cutting back hours but like UPS, Pennys and Walgreens companies are dropping insurance coverage for employees or dependents alltogether.
    ___________________________________________________

    But what is the proof that this is due to Obamacare? Benefits, including healthcare, have been reined in by companies for years. Companies already had the option of dropping healthcare benefits prior to Obamacare. Now they simply have a convenient scapegoat. And since it fits many individual's confirmation bias it gets repeated as gospel.

    September 27, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Eagle0432

    What, you mean 77% of 2013 jobs are parties and Obamacare has nothing to do with it?

    September 27, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. $$$$

    "Obamacare is not causing an increase in part time employment."
    ------------
    That statement is a lie.

    September 27, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. tom l

    @thinking outside the box
    "But what is the proof that this is due to Obamacare? Benefits, including healthcare, have been reined in by companies for years. Companies already had the option of dropping healthcare benefits prior to Obamacare. Now they simply have a convenient scapegoat. And since it fits many individual's confirmation bias it gets repeated as gospel."

    Ummmm, the proof is that they said it. And common sense, as well. If you understood economics, it would be common sense to you, too.

    September 27, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Steve

    Box, but what is the proof that the companies are unaffected by ACA and scapegoating? Everyone knows a company's benefits package is a way to attract top talent and retain good employees. It would be counterproductive to drop health benefits because ACA is just a convenient excuse.

    September 27, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. rs

    tom l

    Here's a fact fact fact. It is indisputable that there are less people working today full time than when Obama took office. 5. Years. Later.
    ---------------–
    Or than in 2008 when the Bush economic crash began. Your point?

    September 27, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Swedge70

    Dean
    They might not be cutting back hours but like UPS, Pennys and Walgreens companies are dropping insurance coverage for employees or dependents alltogether.
    ----------------
    You must have a different definition of "altogether" than Merriam-Webster and I do. Those companies are dropping insurance on spouses that have insurance available elsewhere. In other words, someone at UPS that is married to someone without a job or with a job that does not offer insurance would still have their spouse covered under UPS's plan.

    September 27, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Data Driven

    @$$$$,

    ""Obamacare is not causing an increase in part time employment."
    ----
    That statement is a lie."

    OK. Go prove that Obamacare IS causing the increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics couldn't. Perhaps you're smarter than that particular nonpartisan government department.

    September 27, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |