Report: Obama Administration’s Labor Regs Cost Economy $80 Billion, 150,000 Jobs

Regulations demand 400 million compliance hours from companies

Barack Obama
October 3, 2016

Labor regulations issued in the last year of the Obama presidency will cost the economy roughly $80 billion over the next 10 years and eliminate 150,000 jobs, according to a report from the National Association of Manufacturers.

The report analyzed seven regulations from the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Opportunity Commission, and the National Labor Relations Board. The measures included the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, updated overtime rules, new silica standards, the Ambush Elections rule, reporting requirements for employment and wages, and reporting requirements for workplace injuries and illnesses.

The National Association of Manufacturers found that these rules could cost the economy $81.6 billion, eliminate 155,700 jobs, and impose 411 million paperwork burden hours on companies.

The reporting requirements for employment and wages would add more than 3,400 data fields to the current reporting requirements already in place. The rule would increase paperwork hours by 18 million and impose an annual implementation burden of $53 million.

Another regulation requiring companies to publish reports on workplace injuries and illnesses would add $1.1 billion in long-term costs, $10 billion in annual compliance burdens, and 90 million hours of paperwork.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rule regulating exposure to silica in the workplace would impose $5 billion in annual compliance costs and eliminate 50,000 jobs, according to the Construction Industry Safety Coalition.

The report stated that these regulations would force some employers to trade full-time jobs for part-time jobs.

"The litany of these new labor laws has made it more costly for firms to employ workers," the association said. "Forcing companies to spend more money in compliance costs has little to do with a company’s main purpose—producing goods and services. These rules result in lower productivity growth, and companies end up paying lower wages and reducing employment."

"Imposing greater employment costs on companies usually forces them to economize in other ways," the association said. "In some situations they will try to substitute capital for labor, charge higher prices for goods (and sell less), or reduce wages and fringe benefits for their employees."

Jeremy Adler, communications director at America Rising Squared, said the report illustrated in stark terms the costs of recent labor regulations.

"This study confirms that under President Obama, the Department of Labor has been on a regulatory spree of historic proportions that will cost the U.S. economy tens of billions and hundreds of thousands of jobs," Adler said. "Today, America’s economic growth continues to lag while the Labor Force Participation rate is at its lowest level since the 1970s. A continuation of these radical labor policies threatens our nation’s economy, and diminishes economic opportunities that hardworking Americans badly need today."

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.