In Michigan, there is no local pre-emption law when it comes to licensing, which means that municipalities may impose their own requirements. A review of Michigan’s largest cities finds that most cities create few occupational licenses, but Detroit is a major exception. It imposes a significant number of licensing requirements on people trying to work legally in the city.
Detroit licenses approximately 60 occupations. About half of these are already licensed by the state of Michigan — in these cases, the city simply mandates extra fees and requirements above and beyond what is already required by the state. Some examples include plumbers, electricians, fire alarm technicians, elevator repairmen and more.
The other half of the occupational licenses Detroit requires are for jobs that the state does not require licenses for. Some examples of these include awning erectors, window washers, movers, auctioneers, sign erectors, landscape gardeners, snowplowers, among others.
Detroit emerged from bankruptcy in 2014 and is in particularly need of job creation. A low-cost way for the city to create jobs is to roll back these occupational licensing requirements and make it easier for residents find employment opportunities. At the very least, the city should repeal the jobs it licenses at a higher level than the state.