America has become a part-time nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that in June part-time employees in the labor force reached an all-time high of 28 million, 3 million more than when the recession began in 2007.
The economy lost 240,000 full-time jobs in June and added 360,000 part-time jobs, the BLS noted. Of the 753,000 jobs created this year, 589,000 were part time.
The real unemployment rate in June, the U6, stood at 14.3%, up from 13.8%, a figure that includes part-time workers seeking full-time jobs and those who have become discouraged and are no longer looking for work.
Now many economists and many in the financial press with sympathies to the administration have attributed the rise in part-time America to uncertainty among employers about future profitability and growth and not to the looming Obamacare mandate.
It's ironic that in trying to play down Obamacare's influence on the job market, they end up dissing the president's stewardship of the economy.
However, Obamacare has likely played a significant role in the part-time job wave. Under the Affordable Care Act, companies with 50 or more full-time workers must provide health insurance to all full-time employees, those working 30 or more hours per week.
So if your workers don't work 30 hours per week you don't have to provide health insurance. It makes economic sense to have a part-time work force in many cases. Even with the administration's recent one-year extension of implementing the employer mandate until 2015, most small companies are still preparing to it.
A reported 74% of small businesses are positioning themselves to slash hours, layoff workers or both.
Nearly Half of Americans Say Obamacare is a Bad Idea
Obamacare critics have maintained from day one the president's signature healthcare bill is disastrous and doomed to fail.
Now with just months until the bill takes full effect, more and more Americans are beginning to think the same thing.
According to recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, support for the Affordable Care Act is slipping.
The fresh poll shows 49% of Americans say President Barack Obama's health care reform bill is a bad idea. That's the highest percentage since the poll began measuring backing and opposition for the reform in 2009. Only 37% say the plan is a good idea.
The numbers reflect a sharp increase in disapproval since July 2012 following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare overhaul. At that time, 44% of survey respondents called it a bad idea vs. 40% who called it a good one.
The latest poll also revealed 38% of participants said they and their families will be in worse shape under the new health care law, the highest negative outlook percentage toward Obamacare since it was signed into law in 2010.
Now just 19% say they will be better off while 39% say the law won't make much difference.
California Just Gave Us a Glimpse of How Obamacare Will Fail
Turns out no one knows how Obamacare will work - not even the big-name insurers.
And now, we're starting to see the effects of uncertainty.
Today (Thursday), the Los Angeles Times reported that United Health, Aetna, and Cigna have opted out of the California insurance exchange.
UnitedHealth has adopted a wait-and-see policy: "We are simply taking the time to carefully evaluate and better understand how the exchanges will work to ensure we are best prepared to participate meaningfully in their development," explains a spokesman to the LA Times.
Cigna resolved to participate in exchanges in only half of the 10 states where it sells individual health policies, and California didn't make the cut.
Aetna referred LA Times' questions to Covered California, the state agency in charge of implementing Obamacare.
That means millions of Californians who will have to choose health insurance from exchanges or face a penalty will not be able to pick plans from those three big insurers - signaling limited options ahead thanks to Obamacare.
UnitedHealth, Aetna, and Cigna's response to the California exchange is just the beginning.
These three companies are but the first dominoes to fall to Obamacare's less-than-clear implementation.
How the Sequester is Killing Healthcare Jobs
Sequester-driven budget cuts to Medicare are threatening to spur massive job cuts in the healthcare industry.
And the pain doesn't stop there - the sequester cuts are already making healthcare harder to obtain for some Medicare patients.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The longer Congress allows sequestration to continue, the deeper the cuts will go and the more widespread their impact.
When President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal spending before March 30 -- as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- the sequester kicked in.
Medicare providers faced mandatory 2% across-the-board reductions in their reimbursements.
After the cuts went into effect on April 1, hospitals, doctors, insurers, prescription drug plans, and other healthcare providers immediately felt the impact.
In short, the sequester is delivering precisely the kind of broad, damaging and indiscriminate cuts that politicians warned would happen.
And as each day passes, the drastic consequences grow worse.
Obamacare Ruling: Key Takeaways for Investors and Taxpayers
It's time to buy some insurance for your portfolio following Thursday's landmark Obamacare ruling.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of President Obama's controversial healthcare reform law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The chief and appellate justices upheld the core of the law which has sweeping political and economic ramifications. Many economists, analysts and healthcare experts warn it's a Pyrrhic victory at best.
President Obama and his supporters cheered the landmark healthcare decision - as Republicans reached for an aspirin, an antacid or an analgesic.
While the GOP vows to throw out the law on day one if Mitt Romney wins Election 2012, the ruling does remove some of the dark clouds that have been looming over healthcare stocks. The uncertainty of the law's passage has had many market participants staying away from the sector.
Obamacare Ruling and the Average HouseholdWhat Obamacare means for the average American working family with an annual household income up to approximately $90,000, is that starting in 2014, they will be able to purchase private insurance through new state insurance markets at prices subsidized according to income level.
Mammograms, cancer screenings and other preventative healthcare measures will be available without deductibles or co-pays.
Adult children can remain on parents' health insurance plans until they are 26. Seniors can continue to receive discounts on prescription drugs, and health insurers will continue to pay rebates on premiums not adequately targeted at healthcare services.
In addition, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage to adults with a pre-existing medical condition and must stop or limit the practice of discriminatory pricing based on gender, age and current health status.
Furthermore, healthcare providers will gravitate away from the conventional fee-for-service approach toward systems that coordinate care.
To continue reading, please click here...
Stock Market Today: Obamacare Upheld
Volatility in the stock market today is high due to several factors both domestically and abroad.
The Obamacare ruling is the main driver causing uncertainty in the market, followed by the start of the European Union summit today in Brussels.
The Obamacare ruling had been anticipated with such fervor that reporters camped in front of the Supreme Court for days before the decision.
They finally got one - and it may come as a surprise to many.
The controversial mandate that requires everyone to purchase healthcare by 2014 or pay a small fine was upheld. The vote came in at 5-4 with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito dissenting.
Chief Justice Roberts said that the mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause, but it will survive as a tax.
Republicans had been almost certain that the mandate would be stuck down and President Obama can now breathe a small sigh of relief that his healthcare overhaul has been upheld.
Back to the EU summit, which has been awaited with such pessimism that the yield on Spanish 10-year bonds has risen above 7% again and the euro slipped to a three-week low of $1.24 versus the dollar.
There is an unusual and detrimental air of division and discord among the European leaders heading into the summit. The continent needs to work towards more integration rather than fragmentation if they are to lay down a framework for better fiscal, financial and political union.
U.S. unemployment claims fell slightly from the 392,000 initial claims reported last week to a still alarmingly high number of 386,000 for the week ended June 23. The final estimate for the first quarter's gross domestic product (GDP) came in at the expected 1.9%, but that estimate had already been lowered last week by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Looking beyond these reports, here are some stocks in the headlines today.
To continue reading, please click here...
Investing in Nanotechnology: FEI Co. (Nasdaq: FEIC) is the Top "Picks and Shovels" Play
The word "nanotechnology" gets thrown around a lot but it still remains a fuzzy concept for most people.
From a self-aware, self-assembling grey goo that takes over the world in a Michael Crichton book, to Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) Nano music player or Tata Motor's (NYSE ADR: TTM) Nano car, it's hard to get a clear picture of what nanotech really is.
But as global World Economic Forum member and emerging tech guru Dr. Tim Harper explains, "Nanotechnology is to the 21st Century what chemistry was to the 20th Century."
Like plastics, computers, and the Internet before it, nanotechnology will change the world in ways that we can't even imagine now. That's how powerful the nano-world will become.
That's why every long-term growth investor needs to consider investing in nanotechnology. In terms of scale, the potential for investors is simply enormous.
That's why one company, FEI Co. (Nasdaq: FEIC) is on my list of "buys" as the top "picks and shovels" play.
The Miracle of NanotechnologySo what exactly is nanotech?
It's a way of working with objects and materials at the atomic level, one molecule at time.
That means that in the near future, we will be able to custom design structures literally from the ground up, molecule by molecule, creating a quantum leap forward in medicine, materials, electronics, food, and fuels - practically everything we know of.
In fact, one of the biggest sectors where nanotech continues to have a huge impact is in drug development and drug delivery.
Recent nanotech developments include: cancer treatments without chemotherapy or radiation, long-dose treatment of diabetes with a single monthly injection, long-release or on-demand blood pressure medications, and textiles to build skin, bone or organs from you own cells.
Developments like these will invariably lead to big money
A recent report by Cientifica, a leading global emerging technology consulting firm predicts:
To continue reading, please click here...
Healthcare Mandate Question: Should the U.S. Government Require Everyone To Buy Health Insurance?
In a year of sweeping overhauls in healthcare, financial reform and tax policies, critics of U.S. President Barack Obama's proposals have called them ineffective, shortsighted and misinformed.
This week, in a case that will likely go all the way to the Supreme Court, a federal District Court judge in Virginia added the term "unconstitutional" to that pointed list.
The provision in question is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the U.S. healthcare reform initiative signed into law in March. It requires all Americans, unless exempted for religious or other reasons, to carry health insurance - or to pay a penalty for failing to do so.
Japan's Astellas Pharma Is the Latest Company to Go Global to Dodge Patent Problems
Japan's second-largest drug maker Astellas Pharma, Inc. announced yesterday (Sunday) it would buy U.S. biotech OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: OSIP) for $4 billion to increase its exposure to the U.S. pharmaceuticals market and build up its struggling pipeline.
The all-cash bid is Astellas' second for the sought-after OSI after a March 1 $3.5 billion offer was rejected. Astellas will pay $57.50 per OSI share, 11% more than the first offer and 55% more than OSI's last closing price before Astellas starting bidding. OSI closed at $59.80 Friday.
OSI's money-making cancer drug Tarceva generated $1.2 billion in sales last year and is projected to bring in $7 billion in revenue through 2020. Astellas wants to build a global cancer-drug business and jointly develop more cancer drugs with OSI.