Obamacare gives incentive to hiring part-time, temporary workers
by Don McKee
August 04, 2013 10:43 PM | 1701 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
The slow-growth economy got even slower in July as small businesses — America’s growth engine — reported a net loss in jobs for the third month in a row. And although total employment across the country edged up by 162,000 jobs, a whopping two-thirds of those jobs were part time.

Meanwhile, tax increases, regulations and uncertainty spawned by Obamacare hang over the economy like a huge thunder cloud despite the president’s delaying for one year the requirement for employers to give medical coverage to permanent workers.

No doubt, if the health care law is implemented, it will further retard the economy.

Aggravating the slow growth, both average hourly wages and the private sector work week declined in July.

About 11.5 million people are listed as officially unemployed, but the figure almost doubles when the under-employed are included. These are people who want to work but are not listed as actively looking for jobs and others that work part time because they can’t get full-time jobs.

After the employment figures were released last week, chief economist William Dunkelberg of the National Federation of Independent Businesses gave a statement breaking down the numbers for another sluggish month for the organization’s 350,000 members.

While 9 percent of owners reported adding an average 2.9 workers per firm over the past few months, 12 percent cut jobs by an average 2.6 workers, “producing the seasonally adjusted gain of negative 0.11 workers per firm overall,” Dunkelberg said. “The remaining 79 percent of owners made no net change in employment.”

However, revealing another problem in this aftermath of the Great Recession, the NFIB survey showed that 40 percent of owners found few or no qualified applicants for open positions, and 20 percent reported they had jobs available but could not fill them in the current period. Fifteen percent said they were using temporary employees, a gain of three points from June.

“The health care law provides incentives to increase the use of temporary and part-time workers,” Dunkelberg observed. Confirming that, he cited the federal household survey that showed an increase of 360,000 part-time jobs but a loss of 240,000 full-time jobs.

Yet in terms of hours worked, it was about a wash, indicating that employers overall were getting the jobs done but without having to commit to full-time workers and benefits.

The outlook for hiring? Not good, said Dunkelberg.

“Job creation plans rose two points to a net 9 percent planning to increase total employment,” and the un-seasonally adjusted figure was 12 percent planning to increase jobs, down two points, while 6 percent said they planned to cut jobs.

“Overall,” he said, “there is not a lot of promise for new job growth.”

Dunkelberg says the NFIB’s monthly economic index of small business optimism slipped in July “effectively ending any hope of a revival in confidence among job creators.” He said “there is no reason for small employers to be more optimistic.”

One sure way to fire up business optimism: repeal Obamacare.


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