Little Sign of Jobs Impact From Health Care Law

According to the September jobs report, no – at least not yet. The number of part-time workers for economic reasons increased ever so slightly, to 7.93 million from 7.91 million. But that’s down from 8.6 million a year ago. Indeed, there’s still little sign that the Affordable Care Act has had much of an impact on employment one way or another.

Why? Well, the so-called “employer mandate” does not come into effect until 2015. Economists expect some businesses to hire more part-time workers to avoid the mandate, but do not think it is likely that they would do so until late next year. The provisions of the law that are currently in place, such as a rule preventing insurers from discriminating against applicants with pre-existing conditions, are unlikely to have any effect on hours worked or employment.

So what is driving the decrease in part-time work? Probably the same trends behind the falling unemployment rate: in part an improving economy, and in part the continued bleeding of workers from the labor force.

By Annie Lowrey

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