If more people could start new businesses in the United States, more jobs and more opportunity. One thing that hampers the growth of the U.S. economy is restrictive occupational licensing. Occupational licensing has been among the fastest growing labor market institutions in the United States since World War II. While licenses are necessary for certain health, security and financial-related careers, some states require licensure for a wide range of professions where it’s not really required. This keeps qualified people out of professions and hampers the growth of new business. The Brookings Institute proposes that governments reduce licensing requirements. Uniform state licensing standards could also be developed to allow workers to move across state lines with a minimal cost for retraining or residency requirements.
By placing barriers to entry on jobs that could otherwise be performed by individuals with limited training, licensing often reduces opportunities for the most vulnerable workers and those who need these jobs the most.
- In some entry-level occupations like bus driver, truck driver, pest control applicator, and cosmetologist, an occupational license is required in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
- These licenses impose significant education or experience prerequisites. Cosmetologists, for example, must accrue an average of 372 days of relevant training to procure a license to style hair.