Recent Evidence on the ACA and Employment

A diverse group working on a project.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had little to no adverse effects on employment through 2016.



The Issue

The ACA contains several provisions that could impact jobs, including: the employer mandate, the expansion of Medicaid benefits to low-income adults, and the provision of tax credit subsidies to individuals enrolling in the health insurance marketplaces.  

Key Findings

  • In 2016, actual and expected employment rates were both 71.8 percent, indicating no ACA-associated effect on overall employment, based on the Census Bureau’s monthly Current Population Survey from January 2000 through December 2016.

  • Despite a downtrend in part-time work since 2013, part-time work did not fall as much as expected, with the 2016 part-time employment rate 6 percent higher than expected, based on pre-ACA patterns.


Based on an analysis of employment, number of hours worked per week among workers, and part-time employment, researchers find that the Affordable Care Act has had little to no adverse effects on employment through 2016, while increasing health insurance coverage for 20 million Americans.

About the Urban Institute

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector. Visit the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for more information specific to its staff and its recent research.