Reuters reported Wednesday that, while the US economy created around 1 million new jobs this year, three-quarters of these jobs are part-time. Most are in the low-wage retail and restaurant sector. Concerns over ObamaCare and its health insurance mandate is the prime driver of the push to part-time employment.
“[Businesses] have put some of the full-time positions on hold and are hiring part-time employees so they won’t have to pay out the benefits,” Client Staffing Solutions’ Darin Hovendick told Reuters. “There is so much uncertainty. It’s really tough to design a budget when you don’t know the final cost involved.”
The ObamaCare law requires employers with more than 50 full-time employees to offer health insurance or pay steep fines. The law defines full-time employment as working more than 30 hours a week. Retail establishments and restaurants are uniquely suited to building a work-force with just part-time employees. The two sectors have led a spurt in hiring in recent months, but the hiring is primarily for part-time work.
The Obama Administration has said it would delay enforcement of the employer mandate for one year. The requirement, however, remains in the statute, raising questions over whether or not the mandate is still required.
The delay in enforcement of the employer mandate “confused people even further,” Bill Peppler, managing partner at Kavaliro, a technology staffing firm in Orlando, Florida, told Reuters. “When we talk to customers, I still don’t think anyone has a handle on this.”
The ObamaCare law begins to take effect in a little over a month. Its impact on the economy, however, is already being felt.