What the Affordable Care Act Really Means for Job Growth

Today, the White House released a new analysis of the relationship between the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and job growth on Tumblr in the form of an animated GIF.

Recent news stories have cited anecdotes that restaurants are cutting employees’ hours and refraining from hiring workers due to the ACA. In reality, however, restaurants have had the fastest job growth of any industry in the retail and food services sector since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The GIF also shows that restaurants have had even faster job growth than what would have been predicted from their growth in sales. Furthermore, workers in the restaurant industry have seen their average weekly hours increase since the ACA was signed, contrary to the notion that there has been a widespread shift to part-time hours.

During the four years since the recession ended in June 2009, 87% of the increase in employment has been due to a rise in the number of workers in full-time jobs. And looking at the period since ACA was signed in March 2010, more than 90% of the rise in employment has been due to workers in full-time jobs. Moreover, the length of the average workweek for private sector production and nonsupervisory employees has returned to its level at the start of the Great Recession. 

And while the number of involuntary part-time workers has declined roughly in line with previous recoveries, it spiked up 322,000 in June. However, nearly 30 percent of the June increase was due to federal employees. This suggests that furloughs contributed to the pickup in part-time employment.

These observations strongly suggest that the Affordable Care Act has not constrained growth in hiring or work hours. So what is the ACA doing? It’s slowing the growth rate of health care costs for consumers, creating new incentives for providers to raise the quality of care, and adding new transparency and accountability in the insurance marketplace—all steps that help the economy.

Related Topics: Jobs, Economy, Health Care
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