Let's look at this from two perspectives. First, look at the red line, which shows the first answer given. Here, by far the two most often given answers are "demand is too low" and "want to keep costs down." While the former is directly caused by the overall high level of global economic malaise, the latter is simply a standard business concern.
When the total top three answers are given, the above are still the top two answers given, totaling about 5%-6% more than health care concerns.
I do think that the health law objections/concerns are far more real than many given them credit for. The bottom line is these new laws cut a deep and wide swath through corporate decision making. And the fact that these rules are still evolving and have only recently been found to Constitutional add to the uncertainty.
But health care cost concerns are hardly a new development. Since roughly 2000, there has been a constant discussion about the rising trajectory of health care costs and what can be done about it. For example consider this chart of the annual percentage change in health insurance premiums over the last 10 years:
To argue that "uncertainty" over health care is a primary driver of high unemployment ignores the history of this issue, and the fact that rising costs have caused a headache for human resource and accounting departments for far longer than the ACA has been in existence. In addition, the ACA was passed in response to the fact that higher costs were hindering overall economic health and growth. It's primary focus to change the nature of our health care system from responding to serious medical situation to preventative care would help to seriously alleviate upward cost pressures. As to whether or not the ACA lowers US health care costs, only time will tell.
I'm on Linked In and Twitter (@captivelawyer). Silver Oz's Linked In name is @silver_oz. NDD is a fossil and may be reached by etching a picture in stone on the wall of a cave.
The Bonddad Economic History Project
At the beginning of 2012, I decided to start looking at the actual, statistical history of the US economy starting in 1950. The reason is simple: to find out what really happened. So, when you see title of a post that begins with a year such as 1957, followed by "employment" or "Fed policy: you know what it's for. You can also access the information by typing in BE for Bonddad econ and a year to find information on a particular year.
Here is a link to pages that contain links to all the posts on the years listed.