FACT CHECK: Donald Trump claims there are 'many' part-time jobs because of 'Obamacare'

Posted at 2:48 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 22:53:26-04

Criticizing the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, remains a top talking point for Republicans.

Donald Trump railed against the law at his Phoenix rally Saturday, saying he would "terminate" the law completely.

"Because of Obamacare, you have so many part-time jobs," Trump said. "Companies are taking people that have been with them 20 years and more, 'I'm sorry, I love you, you're great, I have to make you part-time...' 

We decided to put this claim through a PolitiFact truth-check. 

"Because of Obamacare, you have so many part-time jobs."

What the law requires

According to the law, businesses with at least 50 employees are required to offer health care insurance to people who work 30 or more hours per week. Not doing so results in a financial penalty.

Critics of the law say businesses may artificially keep employees under the 30-hour threshold so they can avoid the costs associated with providing them health care.

Little to no evidence

Is that happening?

Anecdotally, there are examples critics of the law can point to. Some universities, for instance, have capped the number of hours a student can work on a university job below the Affordable Care Act threshold. 

However, there is little evidence of a large-scale migration to part-time work.

In April 2010, the first full month under the Affordable Care Act, there were almost 9.2 million part-time workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS defines part-time as working 34 hours or less.

According to BLS, there were 6.4 million part-time workers in May -- an almost 30 percent drop compared to April 2010. There also is still a decrease in part-time workers comparing the current figure to when the employer mandates under the health care law took effect, in January 2015 and January 2016, respectively.

Now BLS data isn't perfect for answering this question. The BLS threshold in hours per week for "full-time" employment is different than it is for the Affordable Care Act. In addition, BLS counts someone who works two 20-hour-a-week part time jobs as one full-time worker. 

But the data is largely backed up by research.

An August 2015 study from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, for instance, concluded that there is no increase in part-time work because of the law. 

"The truth is, it doesn’t show up in the data yet," said co-author and American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Aparna Mathur.

And whether it will ever show up in the data is debatable, according to Bowen Garrett, an economist at the Urban Institute, a Washington D.C. economic research non-profit. He argues in a February 2016 blog post that workers could be "equally influenced" by the Great Recession.  

"We’ve been in a labor market recovery. We’re not becoming a nation of part-time workers," Garrett said.

Our ruling

Trump said, "Because of Obamacare, you have so many part-time jobs."

While some research suggests a small uptick in the number of part-time jobs as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Trump’s claim goes too far.

Neither the data nor the experts (on the right and left) say Trump’s claim is accurate.

We rate Trump’s claim False.  


For the complete fact-check, visit our news partner, PolitiFact Arizona