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.
By Jarrett Skorup
Occupational licensing laws in Michigan raise prices for consumers by up to 30 percent, costing families thousands of dollars each year. These laws mean 80,000 fewer jobs while costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to try and regulate them.
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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.
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