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How Michigan’s Licensing Laws Hurt Workers and Consumers

Occupational licensure – when the government mandates training, tests, and fees before someone can legally perform certain jobs – has a larger effect on the Michigan economy than any other labor issue. The state requiring this permission to work costs jobs and income and causes higher prices for consumers.

Read the Center’s new study.

Jarrett Skorup Policy Analyst


State licensing hurts Michigan residents.

Licensing laws in Michigan raise prices for consumer by up to 30 percent, costs the state 125,480 jobs, and ensures citizens pay $10.4 billion annually in higher prices (or about $2,700 annually per household). The state also spends more than $150 million directly on licensing individual occupations.

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30% Raises prices for consumers by up to 30 percent
-125,480 Michigan jobs
Michigan citizens pay $10.4 billion annually in higher prices
Michigan spends $150m+ directly on licensing individual occupations

Nationally, licensing has grown dramatically.

In 1950, less than 5 percent of workers were licensed; now about 30 percent of workers are. Almost every state licenses doctors, lawyers, dentists, opticians and other technical and specialized occupations and many of these requirements are similar across the states. But many states also require licenses for a range of other jobs, including auctioneers, court clerks, fishermen, floor sanders, painters, interior designers and tree trimmers. Altogether, Michigan licenses about 160 occupations.

View our complete licensing database.

Licensure Requirements in Michigan:

Carpenter

  • 60 hours of education
  • 1 exam
  • $285

Cosmetologist

  • 1,500 hours of education
  • 1 exam
  • $200

Dentist

  • DDS or DMD
  • 1 exam
  • $3,070

Electrical Journeyman

  • 8,000 hours of education
  • 1 exam
  • $140

Painter/Decorator

  • 60 hours of education
  • 1 exam
  • $295

Real Estate Broker

  • 90 hours of education
  • 3 years of experience
  • 1 exam
  • $383