Survey: 'Obamacare' won't change business conditions

Jan. 27, 2014 at 12:01 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The vast majority of U.S. industry leaders say President Obama's healthcare law will not change business conditions, a survey released Monday indicated.

Seventy-five percent of respondents to the National Association for Business Economics' quarterly industry survey said they expected "no impact" on business conditions this year, while 21 percent said they expected whatever changes did occur to be "negative," the survey results showed.

Five percent said they expected business conditions to improve.

The numbers add up to more than 100 percent due to rounding.

Goods producers were the largest group, at 83 percent, expecting no change to their "planning/expectations regarding business conditions," while finance, insurance and real estate was the smallest group, at 70 percent seeing no change.

Transportation, utilities, information and communications was the second largest group expecting no change, at 80 percent, while the services sector came in at 71 percent expecting no change.

The FIRE sector was the largest group, at 25 percent, predicting the law would hurt business conditions, followed by TUIC at 20 percent, services at 19 percent and goods producers at 17 percent.

Services was the largest group, at 10 percent, expecting business conditions to improve, followed by FIRE, at 5 percent. No respondents from TUIC or goods-producing industries said they expected business-condition improvements from the law.

Twenty percent of FIRE respondents said they expected to shift toward more part-time and fewer full-time employees and an additional 5 percent of FIRE respondents said they expected to shift toward fewer part-time and full-time employees.

Fifteen percent of services respondents and 8 percent of goods producers said they expected to shift toward fewer part-time and full-time employees.

On the overall economy, 69 percent said they expected the inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, or the total value of goods and services produced in the United States, to average 2.1 percent to 3 percent, while 6 percent said they expected growth to accelerate to between 3.1 percent and 4 percent.

The GDP is the single most comprehensive indicator of the economy's health.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in his final forecast Dec. 18 the U.S. central bank expected growth to be 2.8 percent to 3.2 percent this year.

Sustained 3 percent growth is seen by many economists as a game-changing positive sign.

"Three percent's the magic number," Joseph LaVorgna Deutsche Bank AG's chief U.S. economist, told Bloomberg Businessweek in March 2013.

NABE surveyed 64 members between Dec. 19 and Jan. 6.

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