Growth in U.S. Occupational Licensing Requirements

Blog, Workplace, Ben Eisen

A neat post at the economics blog Marginal Revolution shows that the percentage of workers in the United States who are required to hold a state license to do their job has steadily increased over the years. In the 1950s, just 5% of workers needed a license – by 2008, that number had more than quadrupled, rising to 23%.

This is a troubling trend that has negative implications for economic performance, and individual liberty. These laws often have far more to do with protecting the wages of well organized and politically influential groups of people than they do with improving the well-being of the general public.

I’d be interested to know if this trend has been as pronounced in Canada as it has been in the United States.