Cat's Out of the Bag

This story has pretty much shifted from "I predict" to "I told you so" to "duh."  But everyone from Karl Rove to the Teamsters now recognize that Obamacare is on a path to destroying full-time employment in the retail service sector.  Via the WSJ, in an editorial by Rove:

These union heads charged that unless Mr. Obama enacts "an equitable fix," the Affordable Care Act "will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week."...

Union leaders are correct that ObamaCare "creates an incentive to keep employees' work hours below 30 hours a week." After all, employers can avoid a $2,000-per-worker fine if they don't provide insurance as long as employees work fewer than 30 hours a week. Union leaders have realized—too late—that ObamaCare will affect the livelihood of millions of workers who wait tables, wash dishes, clean hotels, man registers, stock shelves and perform other tasks that can be limited to shifts of less than 30 hours a week. The White House take on this concern? Press Secretary Jay Carney said it "is belied by the facts."

But the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, in 2010, the year ObamaCare passed, full-time employment grew at an average monthly rate of 114,000 while part-time employment dropped an average of 6,000 a month. So far this year, as ObamaCare is being implemented, full-time employment has grown at an average monthly rate of 21,700 while part-time employment has increased an average of 93,000 a month.


  1. slocum:

    I think this is the next big story that hasn't really gotten a lot of attention yet:

    We're going to end up, it appears, with two very distinct classes of private-sector workers. Lower-paid workers who will have to cobble together multiple part-time jobs and buy their insurance on the exchanges (or, very likely, go without insurance and pay the penalty until they have health problems), and higher-paid workers whose companies will continue to provide full-time work with health insurance but avoid Obamacare coverage mandates by going the self-insurance route.

  2. GlowballWarming:


  3. Duane:

    Not to worry. Within a few years there will be a major push to close the "part time loophole" and make sure employers cover everyone. Well, they will probably limit it to 20 hours and create new subclass.

  4. alanstorm:

    If only someone could have predicted that this would be a train wreck...

  5. mahtso:

    At the risk of being (too) cynical, I wonder if Mr. Rove is correct that union leaders realized too late that this would affect the service industry. Could it be that the leaders did not care becuase it does not affect them, they believed they could get the law changed (or an exemption), or both?

  6. Mole1:

    I haven't done my own research on this, but I keep seeing two obviously incompatible statements:
    1: this post
    2: "less than 3% of employers are affected by the mandate. 97% already offer insurance."

    Which is true?

  7. Joshua Vanderberg:

    Many offer insurance which is not compatible with Obamacare's mandates. So they'd either have to pay significantly more for compliant coverage, or jettison their employees onto the exchanges and pay the "fine" (tax). Alternatively they can get as many employees as they can on the part time roles and avoid the fines for a significant number of their workforce.

  8. HenryBowman419:

    I thought that one of the goals of unions was to reduce the number of hours worked per week. Now that they have succeeded, they are complaining?

  9. Mole1:

    Do you know what percentage is the "Many" of which you speak?

  10. Matthew Slyfield:

    Just about the entire service and retail industries. From my own past experience working those kinds of jobs, almost none of them offer compliant insurance below the management level.

  11. Matthew Slyfield:

    I know your probably being sarcastic, but my sarcasm meter is stuck today so just in-case you are serious, many people including our host here were very loudly predicting a train wreck before this monstrosity even passed congress.

  12. sean2829:

    Remember a few years ago when some companies ended up with unfunded pension liabilities and the government tightened up all the rules for defined benefit pensions? It resulted in end of most defined benefit pension plans in companies that still had them because of the liability. The costs that companies must pay for health insurance in Obama care is only for the employee. Companies are only required to allow for children's coverage through COBRA type payments. There are no mandates for dependent spouses at all. To make matters worse, if the health insurance coverage for an employee is pretty generous but for the employee's dependents is very low, the dependents will not qualify for health insurance subsidies from the government. They are on their own. My question then is, will dependent family member health care coverage under Obamacare follow the same path as defined benefit pensions in private industry?

  13. Roy:

    Legit question, Mole1. 1) However, I wonder if it should carry no weight even sans that data when one realizes the bluntly straightforward obviousness of what "this post" says (your 1 vs 2). After all, cf Alanstorm and slyfield just below. 2) I asked friend human resource professional for confirmation of the stats I seen (Coyote just one source) re full time disappearing into frangible part time positions. He said the media is just starting to notice what for some time has been well known among his profession. 3) Makes me very seriously question the bias of whoever is providing your 2 info.

  14. mesaeconoguy:

    Wait until these union dumbshits get wind of the 90% haircut to their retirement bennies in Detroit.

    Chicago/IL unions, take note.

  15. Noumenon72:

    I don't understand how what Rove says could describe this chart, I would guess that he's counting the Census or some other lie.

  16. obloodyhell:

    }}} Press Secretary Jay Carney said it "is belied by the facts."

    It's belied all right, but it ain't by the facts.

  17. marque2:

    Most big companies already self insure. They just contract out with a healthcare company to manage the program. That is nothing new.

  18. marque2:

    Yes another case where Google can be his friend. I love all the folks who make assertions and demand proof from everyone else when a simple Google search - or for the low info types Bing search could readily find them the answer

  19. alanstorm:

    I didn't think it needed to be marked as sarcasm. It was obvious from the start that this was an idiotic bill.

  20. Matthew Slyfield:

    I get what you're saying. Even as someone who would oppose a single payer system, I have trouble imagining how even a single payer system could end up being worse than the ACA.

  21. skhpcola:

    Only the unionists in D-etroit will give a shit. The rest of the union ephtards will continue with business-as-usual, attempting to bankrupt their employers and governments. They really are loathsome creatures, these modern-day, progtard unionists.

  22. Mole1:

    Thanks for the snark. Perhaps your google-fu is much better than mine, but the credibility of the first pile of links that I got wasn't to my liking. If it is so easy, please give me the search terms you used that resulted in credible sources. Thank you in advance.

  23. mesaeconoguy:

    Every time I see Carney I envision a giant flashing “I AM A MORON!!!” sign hanging in back with a big arrow pointing at him.

    Literally, almost nothing that comes out of his mouth is even partially remotely true, and his wretched ignorance of economics is exceeded only by his bumbling sputtering during Benghazi. Too bad the rest of the children in the room are just as economically dumb as he is.

    I can think of no philosophical reason for the existence of Jay Carney. He serves no useful purpose.

  24. P. Possum:

    A couple of years ago I discussed ACA with a union friend who favored it as acceptable in place of single payer. He asked if it was bad , why were major retailers, unions and ins. companies supporting.Response: perhaps retailers saw the long term benefits of government insurance replacing demands for employer provided insurance, unions saw the long term problems with unsustainable unfunded employer insurance and the insurance companies saw the opportunity to directly access the US Treasury. I also don't put it past certain proponents to have forseen the total ineffectiveness of ACA and wrote it in a way that will inevitably result in the desired single payer plan.