In various job fields like hair styling and medicine, entry barriers are erected by state regulations, prompting calls for reform. President Biden has been a vocal proponent of change in this regard.
Ashley N’Dakpri, owner of Afro Touch salon, reveals how licensing regulations hindered the salon’s expansion plans. A legal battle ensues against the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology over these restrictive rules.
The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the longstanding debate on licensing requirements for professions such as hair braiding, nursing, and fitness training. This prompts a critical examination of the necessity and impact of licenses.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, over 1,100 occupations are licensed in at least one state. The Labor Department reports that 29 million workers, constituting nearly a quarter of full-time employees, held licenses last year—an astonishing rise from the 1950s when only 5% were licensed.
President Biden, supported by some congressional Republicans, asserts that the prevalence of occupational licenses restricts Americans from accessing lucrative job opportunities. This concern gains significance as job openings soar to a record 10.1 million, while the labor force sees a significant decline compared to pre-pandemic levels.
While proponents argue licenses ensure public health and safety, the ongoing debate prompts a reassessment of the regulation-economic opportunities balance.