Occupational Licensing Reduces Job Creation
(p. A15) Only one in 20 workers needed the government's permission to pursue their chosen occupation in the 1950s, notes University of Minnesota Prof. Morris Kleiner. Today that figure is nearly one in three.
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The breadth of jobs is remarkable. Travel and tourist guides, funeral attendants, home-entertainment installers, florists, makeup artists, even interpreters for the deaf are all regulated by various states. Want to work as an alarm installer? In 35 states, you will need to earn the government's permission. Are you skilled in handling animals? You will need more than that skill in the 20 states that require a license for animal training.
There's usually more to these licenses than filling out some paperwork and paying a small fee. Most come with government-dictated educational requirements, examinations, minimum age and grade levels, and other hurdles.
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Instead of looking to the federal government to create jobs, state legislatures could have a real and immediate effect on unemployment in their states by showing how less truly is more. They can remove the barriers to job creation that their predecessors erected and enjoy the job-generating drive of their states' aspiring entrepreneurs.
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