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Keller @ Large: Employers Say Health Care Costs Are Holding Up Hiring

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WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Even with bright spots in the economy, millions of people nationwide are having a tough time finding a job.

A Boston-based recruitment technology company just released its first-ever job opportunity index.

The survey contains some troubling news about Massachusetts.

WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller Is at Large

Research by the Bullhorn company finds only slight growth over this time last year, and job openings in Massachusetts were down sharply last month.

We’ve been told repeatedly that we weathered the recession better than other states. So we asked some local employers: Why aren’t you hiring?

Art Papas, CEO of Bullhorn, sees a common denominator in the expansion phobia of businesses here and across the country.

“Uncertainty is the big one. Companies want to see a stable economic climate, they want to see this turmoil in Europe wrap up, they want to see Washington govern effectively.”

Over at Artaic Mosaics, a small custom tile mosaic manufacturer in South Boston, the CEO says along with Europe and Washington, he’s watching Beacon Hill for signs of action on a key cost factor holding back job growth here.

“I’ve talked to the Governor personally about health care, he knows its a major issue even for us little guys here,” says CEO Ted Acworth. “We’re seeing 8 to 12% increases per year in our health care costs.”

He says, “The last thing I want to do is make that kind of commitment, bring on a new employee and have to turn around and let them go later.”

But no one up here has yet come up with a health-care cost containment plan that can win broad support. And until they do empty cubicles like this one at bullhorn will likely remain empty.

“If our health care costs in the state were anywhere near the national averages, that would be another 10-15 hires that we’d be able to open up right away.”

The good news about local jobs is that sectors like information technology are booming.

Art Papas offers this tip if you’re job-hunting: Some companies are now posting job openings on their Facebook page before their website.

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