The Affordable Healthcare Act and Part-Time Work - Capstone Brokerage

HealthCare Reform Part time

By Jared Bernstein (NY Times)

Among the various attacks on the Affordable Care Act, one of the more coherent — a low bar, given what’s out there — is that it is causing small employers to create part-time jobs so as to remain under the 50 full-time worker cutoff for the employer mandate. The problem for those who want to come at the law from that angle, however, is that though the incentive exists, the evidence does not.

As Paul Van de Water and I pointed out in Politico the other day, if employers were responding to the incentive the way the critics claim, we should see involuntary part-time work growing as a share of total jobs, as workers who want full-time jobs would be stuck with part-time ones. But both involuntary and overall part-time work are slowly declining as a share of all jobs.

Still, it is legitimate to ask whether the slow decline in the share of part-timers is occurring more slowly in this recovery because of the incentive to stay under 50 full-timers. So I built a simple statistical model of the relationship between the share of involuntary part-time work and the unemployment rate. I then ran the model through the first half of 2009, and predicted, using the actual unemployment rate, the shares of involuntary part-time work.

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