New task force will address reforms in occupational licensing practices
New web pages launched today on the Federal Trade Commission’s website will highlight the work of the agency’s new Economic Liberty Task Force, which Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen announced as her first major policy initiative for the agency.
The task force addresses regulatory hurdles to job growth, including the proliferation of occupational licensing. Nearly 30 percent of American jobs require a license today, up from less than five percent in the 1950s. For some professions, occupational licensing is necessary to protect the public against legitimate health and safety concerns. But in many situations, the expansion of occupational licensing threatens economic liberty. Unnecessary or overbroad restrictions erect significant barriers and impose costs that harm American workers, employers, consumers, and our economy as a whole, with no measurable benefits to consumers or society.
“This is an important moment for economic liberty. Governors, state legislators, and many other stakeholders want to move forward to remove or narrow occupational licensing regulations and open doors to opportunity, enhancing competition and innovation,” said Acting Chairman Ohlhausen. “The FTC’s Economic Liberty Task Force has moved quickly to create a website that will gather many existing resources, from the FTC and elsewhere, into a central repository for stakeholders. It will be a dynamic resource and will grow to incorporate additional work by the task force and others in this important area.”
The FTC has a long history of advocacy to reduce or eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing requirements imposed by state law or rules, and the website showcases that work. Upon request by a state legislator or in response to an open public comment period, FTC staff regularly shares its expertise on licensure issues affecting health care workers, other professionals such as attorneys and interior designers, and workers in occupations such as online auction trading and real estate closing services.
The website also presents selected examples of state-based initiatives, telling the stories of state elected leaders and other officials who share the agency’s goal of occupational licensing reform. The website features FTC testimony before Congress on occupational licensure, as well as blogs on the topic, and selected speeches and articles by FTC officials and staff.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. The Economic Liberty web pages are at www.ftc.gov/econliberty.
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