Labor Department data show that only a tiny percentage of companies that experience large layoffs cite government regulation as the reason. Since Barack Obama took office, just two-tenths of 1 percent of layoffs have been due to government regulation, the data show.
Businesses frequently complain about regulation, but there is little evidence that it is any worse now than in the past or that it is costing significant numbers of jobs. Most economists believe there is a simpler explanation: Companies aren't hiring because there isn't enough consumer demand.
To be sure, 18 percent of members of a conservative business organization say regulations are a problem for them, but that's not a historically high number—it was higher under both Clinton and the first Bush—and again, members of a conservative business organization. I don't think we should rush to go on what they say is best for the economy.
At least one study has found that stricter environmental regulations would create jobs in the northeast, while such regulations have in fact created jobs in California. Meanwhile, other studies have found that "the overall effect [of regulations] on jobs is minimal" and that "Mostly, they just shift jobs within the economy," in addition to, of course, saving lives and protecting the environment.