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

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.

More from Jon Keller
  • emom

    What a surprise, this time around employers are scared to hire , not knowing how the economy while turn, Do you blame them, But the bigger problem is , By not creating the jobs , many more will not buy anything, further surpressing the economy and thus more jobs will then be lost, WHY CANT THEY SEE THIS

  • mikey

    Thanks Blue Cross-Blue Shield for my recent rebate of $3.00. What a joke!

  • massman

    Health care should not be run by insurance companies, and should not be tied to employment.

    • FireGuyFrank

      If insurance companies don’t run health care insurance, who should? Frankly, all costs associated with employment have to be considered when hiring.

      Salary, employer payroll taxes, and all benefits are costs to the company. Given the uncertainty in the economy and “Obama-care”, it’s no wonder hiring is flat. In fact, my company had another reduction in force in July.


    • John Howard

      Basic health care should berun by the federal government, paid out of taxes, and free for everyone. If people want expensive or controversial procedures, they should have to pay for it themselves or get supplemental individual plans.

  • tsal

    I know of many instances where the premiums were not raised for the company. Instead, BCBS and HPHC have a new tactic. Premiums stay the same or are raised a few percents and then they tack on a deductible or raise the existing deductible. Doesn’t cost the company more but costs EACH individual more. If you want this to continue, then definitely support private companies controlling your healthcare coverage.

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  • BillyH

    The max fine for a MA employer (of 11 or more full-time employees – smaller bizzes are exempt) who does not provide health care to it’s employees is $295/employee/yr. Assume 2,000 annual hrs./full-time employee./yr. and that’s a whopping $0.15/hr. in “potential health care costs”.

    Not to mention that this story surveyed a whopping two (2) employers, and only one (1) said “health care costs are holding up hiring.” And if the consumer demand was there to hire that add’l employee, that one (1) employer would eat that $0.15/hr. in a heartbeat…

    Hiring is down because of lack of consumer demand. Period. Full stop.

    Seriously, the best you could do to promote one of your kid’s (thoroughly debunked) Republican talking points was a survey of two employers – one of which didn’t even support your theory?

  • emom

    I think most do not see past what they see,,, Its not all solely on the insurance companies,, But its a great deal of it… First you need to look at your employer. They set it up WITH the insurance companies on what they want your plan to have. They pick and choice from and A LA CARTE menu of covered expenses, Whats that, only the insurance companies do that ,, OH NO THEY DONT. your employer can and will choice what they do not want to be covered in the plan so as to save expenses on their part, then when they feel its cheap enough they saddle the employee with the rest. Lets see they can pick the high deductible, the higher cost of out of pocket to your doctors and prescriptions, they also pick the out of pocket for emergency care , hospital care and specialty doctors. Don’t believe me, try looking at it , really look at what you have. Then ask your employer that is if they will tell you the truth. Truth is this has been going on for over 20 years. Companies get a list of plans But can add or delete what they choice. As long as its not a state mandated covered expense they can do virtually anything. YOU HAVE NO SAY. sure you can complain but it will not help your case. Then try getting insurance from other sources, cost is far higher and you are subject to their choices, some may allow you to add on or delete what you want but they govern the cost you will pay, WHY , Why is that I wonder, I will tell you, the CEO’s are greedy, the corporate elect are greedy, the ones that sit in an office dictationg what they want their customer service departments to do their claims approvers must work harder to enter hundreds of claims a day and be sure they DONT make a mistake. Dont beleive me FInd someone that does it you will see and hear the truth. I not only Know all this to be so true Have worked in one and trust me those in the offices sitting pretty and wearing expensive suits and drive in wonderfuly expensive cars and take luxury trips and cruises that is the real reason healtcare priemium costs are sky rocketing out of control. Plus do not forget to add in all the fradulent events that take place. Fix all that and you will have better coverage and care. BELIEVE ME

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