Breaking News: A handful of Texas business owners blame the ACA for them not hiring (more) people

Hat Tip To: 
Arthur N.

This is one of the lamest examples of negative spin that I've seen in awhile. The WSJ MarketWatch breathlessly reports that...

Fresh off a Philadelphia Fed survey of manufacturers finding that the Affordable Care Act is acting as a drag on hiring and increasing part-time employment, a Dallas Fed survey finds the much same thing.

Like the Philly Fed survey, it was tacked on to an existing monthly survey of conditions. In this case, a net 23.5% of respondents say the number of workers employed is lower due to the effects of what’s commonly called Obamacare. Part-time work is up, the amount of work outsourced is up, wages and salary compensation per worker is down, other benefits are down, and prices charged are higher.

My goodness, that does sound bad, doesn't it? The actual survey results are posted, and show that 25.9% of respondents blame the ACA for them employing fewer people than they would without the ACA, versus just 2.4% who say that it's higher. This is indeed a "net" of 23.5% saying that they'd have more employees if it weren't for that darned Obamacare!

But wait, what's that in the lower left-hand corner?

"NOTE: 85 respondents answered this question"

Yup. 25.9% out of 85 people. Not 8,500, not 850, but 85 business owners. That's 22 people. Specifically, 22 owners of manufacturing businesses. I'm not a professional statistician (no matter what some keep claiming), so I have no idea what the margin of error is on a pool of 85 people, but I have to imagine it's pretty large.

And this is in Texas, I might add (the survey is by the Federal Reserve of Dallas; a total of 95 "Texas manufacturers" responded, which means that 11 of them--oh, sorry, "10.5%"--didn't bother answering that question at all).

I'm stunned and amazed. A couple dozen business owners in Texas (less than that, actually) don't like Obamacare, and blame it on them not hiring anyone...

Hold the phone; what's that now?

It’s important to note that manufacturing employment has gone up this year — by an average of 15,000 per month in 2014, versus 7,000 in 2013. What the surveys are showing is that key executives think they would have ramped up employment even more were it not for the ACA.

Oh. So it's not that they had to fire anyone, and it's not that they didn't hire anyone; in fact, they're hiring twice as many people every month as they did last year.

So basically, the argument is this:

2013: "Obamacare is gonna destroy jobs by the millions!! We're doomed, I tells ya, doomed!!"

2014: "Um...ok, well, yes, we've hired more than twice as many people this year as we did last year...but...but...we probably would've hired even more if it weren't for that eeeeevil Obamacare!! Yeah, that's the ticket!!"

Plus, of course, "Texas manufacturers" tells us nothing about the size of the businesses in question. For all we know, those 22 Negative Nancies might only employ, say, 20 people apiece, whereas the 2 Positive Pauls (?) might employ 5,000 each. Who the hell knows?