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Old 02-05-2014, 09:10 PM   #21
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I'm aware that neither number is fixed, but it is pretty clear that we've had a surplus of labor available since 2009, and that even setting interest rates to zero has not spurred enough demand for labor to soak up that excess supply. At the current pace of job creation (about 2.4 million per year), we are still years away from getting everyone back to work.

Do you really think we're going to see a general shortage of labor anytime soon?


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Despite all the research and experience to the contrary, the old "lump of labor" chestnut endures. There's no fixed number of jobs and no fixed number of job seekers--each number responds to the market.
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:21 PM   #22
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This is just more evidence to me that we need to separate employment and health insurance coverage.
+1

I doubt whether the majority of workers even realize why healthcare was linked to employment in the first place. An understanding of this would open a lot of eyes (and minds), IMO
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:23 PM   #23
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And many states, including mine, had un-subsidized hi-risk pools and the ACA premiums have turned out to be LOWER than comparable coverage in the hi-risk pools.
THIS!

$530/month turns out to be less than the $1,260/month the high risk pool was quoted at. There was also a wait list, with priority given to persons uninsured for 6 months or more.

Under the ACA, the old high risk pool system is now gone. I consider this a good thing.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:30 PM   #24
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I'm aware that neither number is fixed, but it is pretty clear that we've had a surplus of labor available since 2009, and that even setting interest rates to zero has not spurred enough demand for labor to soak up that excess supply. At the current pace of job creation (about 2.4 million per year), we are still years away from getting everyone back to work.

Do you really think we're going to see a general shortage of labor anytime soon?
There's no "right" amount of labor. Just as there's no "right" number of jobs. And, without any such "right" number, there can't be a shortage or an excess of either.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:31 PM   #25
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My concern going forward is the decrease in national productivity associated with the loss of those 2+ million jobs. Whether voluntary or not, fewer folks w#rking represents less national production.
Indeed. When the only access to affordable guaranteed issue insurance was through employment, there was a powerful incentive to try to get and hold a job. Employers are aware of this.

I worked for such an employer once long ago. Knowing that leaving a job would cost me coverage for a family member who needed it (and the common 'no pre-existing coverage for the first 6 months' at any other employer would clinch it...) led to a fairly abusive workplace environment.
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:55 AM   #26
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.......... Knowing that leaving a job would cost me coverage for a family member who needed it (and the common 'no pre-existing coverage for the first 6 months' at any other employer would clinch it...) led to a fairly abusive workplace environment.
Oh, they wouldn't do that...........unless they could get away with it.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:31 AM   #27
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Apparently, a few people don't read the ER forums. CBO didn't need to update a study for the critters to learn about this phenomenon. You guys have been discussing the RE enabling features of ACA for a long, long time. (As well as the possible gaming of income for maximum ACA subsidies.) Think there will be any consequences because of these features reaching the light of day?
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:16 AM   #28
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So recessions and depressions aren't really a problem?

Having a large portion of the population desperate to find work and unable find it is nothing to worry about?

By that logic, the affects of the ACA really don't matter, because even if it destroys jobs, there was no "right" number of jobs anyway.

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There's no "right" amount of labor. Just as there's no "right" number of jobs. And, without any such "right" number, there can't be a shortage or an excess of either.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:23 AM   #29
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So recessions and depressions aren't really a problem?

Having a large portion of the population desperate to find work and unable find it is nothing to worry about?

By that logic, the affects of the ACA really don't matter, because even if it destroys jobs, there was no "right" number of jobs anyway.
Strawman. That's not what I wrote, obviously.
Labor force participation is dropping--which is exactly opposite of what we'd expect if "the population were desperate to find work." Some people may have "given up" (i.e. they have found more attractive alternatives than hunting for/finding a job--at least a job in the "official economy").
There are many intertwined incentives at play here. There's no "lump of labor" and no static number of jobs. The number of jobs depends on the business climate and on the price of labor.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:49 AM   #30
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Apparently, a few people don't read the ER forums. CBO didn't need to update a study for the critters to learn about this phenomenon. You guys have been discussing the RE enabling features of ACA for a long, long time. (As well as the possible gaming of income for maximum ACA subsidies.) Think there will be any consequences because of these features reaching the light of day?
I guess the 'jobs report' will be showing up soon? I made a prediction back in September 2013:
Quote:
I've always suspected that the "productivity" of the US was boosted by this linkage (Employer HI). I also suspect that February 7th, 2014 and other "first Friday's of the month" in early 2014 will be looking pretty "bad" as people who were only hanging on to get health insurance leave the workforce and snag something off of the state exchange.
I can say for sure that this was central to my recent departure from the workforce.
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Old 02-06-2014, 11:35 AM   #31
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Strawman. .....There's no "lump of labor" and no static number of jobs. The number of jobs depends on the business climate and on the price of labor.

Absolutely! The number of jobs is NOT static, but can rise or fall with overall health of nation's economy. Multiple examples of this within the Eurozone.

Another factor in US now seems to be workforce maldistribution. Very interesting front page article in WSJ today about more "prime working age" men not having jobs. I was struck by the multiple stories of unemployed folks apparently unwilling to relocate for a job, or even quitting a job to relocate to a more economically depressed area (e.g. quitting FT pos in FL to job seek in metro Detroit?).
More Men in Prime Working Ages Don&#39;t Have Jobs - WSJ.com
(unfortunately-pay article, but avail via many local libraries)

This is in face of latest Fed Beige Book report noting significantly improving labor demands (& housing markets) in multiple regions.
FRB: Beige Book - January 15, 2014

And here's a sample article from Midwest about specific skilled labor shortage (welders) inhibiting economic growth-
THE REGULARS: Workforce shortage requires both short-, long-term responses


Wouldn't the economy (& many families) be doing better if the skilled/educated unemployed & the available jobs got together
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:06 PM   #32
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Here's a summary of the available data concerning labor force participation and healthcare availability via Medicaid. One study didn't show any affect, one showed an effect and the third estimated a pretty broad range for an effect ranging from almost nothing, to a fairly marked amount. Everyone may choose to ignore the study that doesn't support their own beliefs....

Yes, Obamacare will probably downsize the workforce. Economists explain why.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:44 PM   #33
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Here's a summary of the available data concerning labor force participation and healthcare availability via Medicaid. One study didn't show any affect, one showed an effect and the third estimated a pretty broad range for an effect ranging from almost nothing, to a fairly marked amount. Everyone may choose to ignore the study that doesn't support their own beliefs....

Yes, Obamacare will probably downsize the workforce. Economists explain why.
Interesting article, but shows these "expert" opinions covers all possibilities (up, down, or no effect). Reminds me of an old joke-

There are only 2 kinds of economists-
those who cannot forecast future employment,
and those who do not know they cannot forecast future employment

Safe to say only time will tell how ACA's effect on employment eventually plays out over next few years.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:21 PM   #34
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Here is the actual report:

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/fil...utlook2014.pdf

Appendix C, "Labor Market Effects of the Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates" is the specific relevant item.

Quote:
CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor—given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive.
Got that? The workers will choose to supply less labor.

If this bothers you, try to come up with a better alternative. Note that workers may raise objections to mandates requiring forced labor.

I am retired specifically because I was able to obtain and keep medical insurance coverage without having to rely on an employer's 'guaranteed issue' insurance pool.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:23 PM   #35
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Current CBO report enumerates many, many qualifiers & study limitations, and at times even seems somewhat self-contradictory in this area. However CBO may eventually prove correct in BOTH of it's main speculations on ACA's effect on overall employment. It is not inconsistent that w@rkers (generally) may well choose to w@rk less, and fewer jobs may exist with ACA than without it. For example, instead of aggressively expanding small business owners (themselves part of workforce & source of ~2/3rds of all new net private job creation) may choose to maintain or slightly contract at a time its workers may choose to work less. This is not necessarily negative so long as overall national productivity (inc tax revenues) can be maintained and labor supply/demand remains in rough balance.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:26 PM   #36
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Anybody find it strange that almost everybody on this site admits to not knowing what the markets are going to do because it is so complicated.....but on the ACA topic there are a lot of people who seem to know what is going to happen? Seems pretty complicated to me and I am going to sit back and wait until the dust settles....I know I'm not smart enough to figure it all out.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:40 PM   #37
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Hey! Get off my lawn

Even worse, the workers, now free of 'job lock', may go off and become independent competition!

"Job lock", some may recall, was the locking of labor into a job just so that they could get insurance. One Rep. Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin argued passionately back in May 20, 2009 that "The key question that ought to be addressed in any health care reform legislation is 'Are we going to continue job lock, or are we going to allow individuals more choice and portability to fit the twenty-first century workforce?'". He makes a good point. How many potential enterpreneurs were lost to job lock?

I gather some folks are now arguing that ending job lock is a bad thing.

One Rep. Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin argued passionately today concerning the CBO report that "because of government policies as the welfare state expands, the incentive to work declines". Well, work for The Man, anyway. See, it turns out that 'incentive to work' is a codeword for 'incentive to work for the mid to large corporations that offer group medical insurance.

On the other hand, that worker could leave his job, knowing that he still has health insurance for himself and his family, and take a chance at starting his own business. The one thing that kept me from doing a couple of startups when I was in my 40s was the lack of decent medical coverage for my family.

The ACA is an incentive to not work in much the same way as Social Security is an incentive for workers to not die at their job. (Credit to John Stewart for that one.)
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:35 AM   #38
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One Rep. Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin argued passionately today concerning the CBO report that "because of government policies as the welfare state expands, the incentive to work declines".
If we look at the loss of the subsidy as the taxpayer exceeds 400% of the FPL, then the ACA definitely provides a disincentive to work for some people. We've talked about it on this board frequently. If we instead decide that Ryan is referring to some sort of benefit from job lock (despite what he said before), then I guess we can reach a different conclusion.

A more appropriate comparison between the ACA and SS: The loss of the ACA subsidies provides a disincentive to work just as the 50% tax on earned income for those who have taken SS early provides a disincentive to work. Maybe John Stewart can use that.
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:47 AM   #39
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The labor force participation rate dropped sharply because it is much harder to find a job than it was before the financial crisis, not because workers suddenly found "more attractive alternatives" to work.

For many people, the option to work was involuntarily removed as companies shed millions of workers in mass layoffs. The job market is somewhat better than it was during the financial crisis, but it is still pretty bad. There are still millions of people who got laid off during the crisis that would like to work, but are unable to find jobs.


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Strawman. That's not what I wrote, obviously.
Labor force participation is dropping--which is exactly opposite of what we'd expect if "the population were desperate to find work." Some people may have "given up" (i.e. they have found more attractive alternatives than hunting for/finding a job--at least a job in the "official economy").
There are many intertwined incentives at play here. There's no "lump of labor" and no static number of jobs. The number of jobs depends on the business climate and on the price of labor.

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Old 02-07-2014, 06:57 AM   #40
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Yes, these are factors in any labor market, but they are not the primary issue we currently face in our own labor market. The job market didn't get sharply worse in 2009 because people were suddenly more maldistributed.

The job market got worse in 2009 because of a sharp drop in overall labor demand. That demand has still not recovered to levels consistent with a healthy labor market. It continues to be much harder to find a job than it was before the recession.

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Originally Posted by ERhoosier View Post
Absolutely! The number of jobs is NOT static, but can rise or fall with overall health of nation's economy. Multiple examples of this within the Eurozone.

Another factor in US now seems to be workforce maldistribution. Very interesting front page article in WSJ today about more "prime working age" men not having jobs. I was struck by the multiple stories of unemployed folks apparently unwilling to relocate for a job, or even quitting a job to relocate to a more economically depressed area (e.g. quitting FT pos in FL to job seek in metro Detroit?).
More Men in Prime Working Ages Don&#39;t Have Jobs - WSJ.com
(unfortunately-pay article, but avail via many local libraries)

This is in face of latest Fed Beige Book report noting significantly improving labor demands (& housing markets) in multiple regions.
FRB: Beige Book - January 15, 2014

And here's a sample article from Midwest about specific skilled labor shortage (welders) inhibiting economic growth-
THE REGULARS: Workforce shortage requires both short-, long-term responses


Wouldn't the economy (& many families) be doing better if the skilled/educated unemployed & the available jobs got together
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