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Economists shrug off PPACA effects

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(Bloomberg) — The vast majority of U.S. corporate economists say the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will have no effect on their employers or their employers’ hiring plans, according to results of a poll issued today.

About 75 percent of those surveyed said PPACA hasn’t influenced the companies’ planning or expectations for 2014, according to data from the National Association for Business Economics. Twenty-one percent of 64 respondents said that the law would have a negative impact on business conditions, and 5 percent said the law will have positive effect.

Most, 85 percent, also said the law wouldn’t prompt a change in the employers’ hiring practices, according to the survey. Some 6 percent said it would lead to more employment of part-time help and fewer full-time staff, while 8 percent said it would lead to less hiring of all types of workers.

Participants were also sanguine about changes in Federal Reserve monetary policy, with 70 percent saying tapering of record stimulus would have no effect on profitability, and the remaining split almost evenly between positive and negative implications for earnings. An overwhelming majority of participants, 94 percent, said uncertainty regarding what direction policy makers would take prompted no change in capital investment plans.

“A significant majority of survey respondents anticipate little material impact on business conditions from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act or from possible changes in the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy stance,” Jack Kleinhenz, NABE president and chief economist at Kleinhenz and Associates in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, said in a statement. “On net, survey respondents are more optimistic in their economic outlook and, regardless of any changes in monetary policy, expect their firms’ performance in 2014 will be superior to that in 2013.”

The survey was taken from Dec. 19 to Jan. 6.

–Editors: Vince Golle, Mark Rohner

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