28th July 2011
Lost amid the hand-wringing and focus on Washington, D.C., however, is the unhelpful role of state governments in making joblessness worse.
Their harmful method is occupational licensure. By imposing onerous and usually pointless requirements on those wishing to enter a trade or line of work, state legislatures erect needless barriers around occupations perfectly suited for those entering the work force, midcareer switchers, and pink-slip recipients. 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.
My, what a surprise. Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.
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. Only three states (Florida, Nevada and Louisiana) and Washington, D.C. regulate interior designers, but the barriers to entry are astonishing. Governments demand enough educational and apprenticeship hours to keep newcomers out for almost 2,200 days. They must pass an exam created by the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications, an industry group, and pay fees totaling $364.
And don’t get me started on the Bar exam….