Federal labor regulations implemented during the current administration could cost the economy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, according to a study Thursday.
President Barack Obama and his administration have made major changes to workplace regulations since 2009. The changes have ranged from expanded union rights, overtime pay and contracting rules. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) found the new regulations will cost $81.6 billion in compliance alone and 155,700 lost jobs over the next ten years.
“We find that these regulations go beyond the agencies’ calculations for total paperwork burden hours and employment losses,” the report stated. “[The] regulations could cost the economy roughly $81.6 billion, impose 411 million paperwork burden hours, and result in as many as 155,700 fewer jobs in the near future.”
The report focused on seven areas in which new regulations have had the greatest impact. It listed contractor blacklisting, employee overtime, protections against the toxic substance silica, union elections and workplace injuries as key areas of reform. Silica is often found in construction projects and can cause injury and death. The Department of Labor (DOL) has been the source of many of these new regulations.
“During the first seven years of President Obama’s term, DOL has finalized three major regulations annually, on average,” the report also stated. “The aggregate economic costs from lost wages, reduced employment, and added time spent on regulatory compliance continue to grow each year, and will spike to record levels in 2017.”
NAM joined a coalition of business groups Tuesday to file a lawsuit against the overtime rule. Republican lawmakers and business groups have fought the new regulations with lawsuits and legislation but they have seen few successes. America Rising Squared (AR2) notes the study highlights a significant threat to the economy.
“This study confirms that under President Obama, the Department of Labor has been on a regulatory spree of historic proportions,” AR2 Communications Director Jeremy Adler told InsideSources. “A continuation of these radical labor policies threatens our nation’s economy, and diminishes economic opportunities.”
America Rising is a nonprofit research group that promotes conservative policies. The report highlights that the regulatory costs and paperwork burden far exceed anything seen in previous years. Nevertheless, the administration has made the case, on numerous occasions, the new regulations help workers.
“The biggest challenge America continues to have is making sure that everybody in this new economy is participating,” Obama said last year during a summit on worker rights. “Everybody who works hard is getting paid a decent wage with decent benefits, everybody has some basic economic security.”
Obama touted his economic reforms as a reason for why the economy was able to recover. He added his administration will continue to seek reforms that make the economy fairer for workers. He asserted that strong unions, minimum wages and better protections are key but critics warn those things will likely put financial stress on the economy.
The DOL did not respond to a request for comment by InsideSources.