For Immediate Release: 11/29/2016
Contact: Zachary Janowski
Mobile: (860) 384-5777

People in Connecticut are “Waiting to Work”
Licensing regulations slow employment, delay dreams

Nov. 29 Waiting to Work, a new Yankee Institute study authored by a Quinnipiac University economist, demonstrates the impact of occupational licensing on Connecticut workers and consumers.

Prof. Mark Gius demonstrates that licensing has the dual effect of raising prices for consumers and reducing employment for people who want to work in licensed fields. By comparing wages and employment rates between states that license occupations and those that don’t, Gius observes a measurable impact. His findings call into question the assumption that licensing serves to protect the consumer, and shows instead that licenses actually raise barriers to jobs and competition.

[Download the study Waiting to Work: The Effects of Occupational Licensing on Wages and Employment]

Licensing makes it more difficult for job-seekers by reducing the number of jobs in a given area. Gius shows that, in states with licensing regimes, employment rates are lower for veterinary technicians, opticians, and teacher’s assistants, among others.

Licenses also raise costs for consumers. Without competition to drive down prices, the price of bartender services saw a significant jump (14.9 percent), as did child care workers (32.5 percent). The cost to employ crane operators and opticians was also higher in jurisdictions that require licenses.

The costs of occupational licensing are paid by the consumer, but are felt primarily by individuals looking for jobs.

An entrepreneurially-minded young worker may want to learn to install auto glass. But before being allowed to work in his chosen trade, the young worker must complete a year-long apprenticeship – including 144 hours of classroom time – work at least two years as a journeyman, pay hundreds of dollars in fees, and take multiple exams. Only then can he become a fully-licensed automotive glass contractor. By contrast, a mechanical engineering degree from UConn only requires 95 credit hours specific to the curriculum.

There is a growing consensus that occupational licensing laws exceed what is necessary to protect health and safety. President Barack Obama’s White House, libertarians, and criminal justice reform advocates have all advocated for changes to licensing laws.

Occupational licensing is one of the areas highlighted for reform in Yankee Institute’s Connecticut Can Work! initiative. This package of reforms would make it easier to hire and work in Connecticut at no cost to the state.

“Connecticut is often an outlier when it comes to occupational licensing,” said Joe Horvath, assistant policy director. “We require licenses for two professions that aren’t licensed anywhere else. Our fees are high and the training requirements are lengthy. Why are we making people wait to work?”

The Hartford-based Yankee Institute for Public Policy works to transform Connecticut into a place where everyone is free to succeed.

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