The idea that the Affordable Care Act has hurt the U.S. job market has long been hard to take seriously. In 2014, the first full year of ACA implementation, job growth reached a 15-year high. The first two years of ACA implementation were the best back-to-back years for job creation since the 1990s.
But we can go a little further with this. Forbes’ Dan Diamond made a great observation, which inspired the above chart, noting private-sector employment in the United States over the last eight years. The red line shows the final two years of the Bush/Cheney era, as the private sector shed jobs; the light blue line shows the first year of the Obama era, when the Great Recession started to end; and the hard blue line shows March 2010 through the present.
As Diamond added last week, “Obamacare was signed into law in March 2010. The private sector hasn’t lost jobs since.”
Marco Rubio recently claimed, “[W]e have a crazy health care law that discourages companies from hiring people.” By any reality-based metric, the senator has no idea what he’s talking about.
But whenever this or related topics come up, I hear from conservatives who insist that the data is deceptive because most of the new jobs are part-time, not full-time. This pesky detail makes the seemingly good news appear far more discouraging.
And that might be true, if the argument were correct. We were reminded again this week, however, just how wrong the right’s argument is. Vox’s Sarah Kliff noted:
[N]ew research in the journal Health Affairs suggests they weren’t the norm: The data shows no national trend toward more part-time employment under the Affordable Care Act – even if you drill into the type of people you’d expect to get hit hardest.
What’s more, the Wall Street Journal published a chart the other day showing full- and part-time job growth in the Obama era. Growth in part-time jobs has been consistently flat, but growth in full-time jobs has soared.
In other words, those trying to find proof of the ACA hurting the job market will have to look elsewhere for evidence.