[Paleopsych] Health Benefits and the 'Jobless Recovery'
shovland at mindspring.com
Sat Aug 21 15:45:48 UTC 2004
Are we the the only first world country that doesn't have Universal Health
An article in yesterday's New York Times seems likely to provide fodder for
the debate over the so-called "jobless recovery" being experienced by the
Despite nearly three years of uninterrupted economic growth, the economy
has been adding a relatively small number of jobs each month. One
"significant factor" causing the employment slump is the increasing cost of
employee health insurance, according to the article.
The Times cited government data, industry surveys, and interviews with
large and small employees in reporting "that many businesses remain
reluctant to hire full-time employees because health insurance, which now
costs the nation's employers an average of about $3,000 a year for each
worker, has become one of the fastest-growing costs for companies."
Health-benefit costs are draining corporate assets more than even climbing
energy costs, according to the article. The cost of health benefits in the
second quarter rose at a 12-month rate of 8.1 percent. That's more than
triple the inflation rate and the rate of wage and salary increases,
according to the newspaper.
"Health care is a major reason why employment growth has been so sluggish,"
the article quoted Sung Won Sohn, the chief economist at Wells Fargo, as
Allan Gilmour, the vice chairman of Ford Motor and a former CFO of the
company, told the newspaper, it would to be hard to find a direct link
between higher health care expenses and the lag in hiring, since employment
decisions were driven by many factors.
"Health is a larger and larger part of our compensation package," Gilmour
was quoted as saying. "It is hard to know what we are doing or not doing
because of this. But on a macro level there's no question about it: this
pressure comes to bear on everything we do."
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