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August 24, 2004
Healthcare Costs Knock Hiring

After job creation slowed sharply in June and July, analysts began looking for reasons to explain why. The New York Times reports that a major reason for the slowdown is soaring healthcare costs.

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In recent years, employers have seen double-digit increases in healthcare costs, and those costs are now affecting employer's hiring decisions, according to the newspaper.

"Health care is a major reason why employment growth has been so sluggish," Sung Won Sohn, the chief economist at Wells Fargo, tells the newspaper.

The newspaper notes that the economy has about 1 million fewer jobs than it did when President Bush took office, even though other areas of the economy have shown significant improvement during the same period.

Some business owners say there's been a change in what factors they look at when making decisions about adding employees.

"Before, we hired based on workload," says Steve Hayes, the owner of Custom Electronics in Falmouth, Maine. "Now it's a question of affordability."

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