Carney: Suggestion ObamaCare reduces full-time hiring 'belied by the facts'

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday dismissed reports that some employers were hiring more part-time employees because of the president's signature healthcare law.

"The data reflects that there is not support for the proposition that businesses are not hiring full-time employees because of the Affordable Care Act," Carney told reporters.

According to The Wall Street Journal, employers have added more part-time employees — about 93,000 a month — in 2013 than full-time workers — averaging about 22,000 per month. That's a reversal from 2012, when employers hired 31,000 part-time workers and 171,000 full-time ones per month.

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Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers with 50 or more full-time employees (defined as working more than 30 hours per week) must offer affordable insurance or face fines. According to ADP, the average cost of a premium per employee is $9,562 per year, with an employer typically picking up three-quarters of the cost. 

The requirement has come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks after the administration delayed the so-called employer mandate for an additional year, saying bureaucratic issues still needed ironing out.

Nevertheless, the White House argued Tuesday that the new healthcare law was not responsible for the uptick in part-time, rather than full-time employment.


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"I would say broadly that if you look at the economic data, the suggestion that the ACA is reducing full-time employment is belied by the facts," Carney said.

"What the ACA allows is the opportunity for individuals who could not, prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, afford insurance to get insurance," he continued. "And it provides subsidies for those who need help affording it, and it assists businesses in that effort, so they can offer insurance to their employees."

There's some evidence that the hours worked by employees of certain industries are actually increasing. The Journal noted that the average workweek for restaurant staff had increased this year to 25.6 hours, up from 25.5 in 2012 and 25.1 in 2007, when the economic recession first hit.

The administration has also noted that businesses can, under the law, pool with other employers to reduce their costs and achieve more competitive rates.