Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta took on occupational licensing reform Friday, calling for the elimination of unnecessary licenses and the streamlining of those that make sense.
Acosta urged while speaking at the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Denver, Colorado, state legislators roll back burdensome occupational licensing requirements that effectively serve as government-created barriers for Americans seeking work.
“In 1950, only about 1 in 20 jobs required a license. Today, more than 1 in 4 Americans need a license to legally perform their work,” Acosta told the crowd of conservative legislators, free market advocates, and private sector representatives.
— ALEC (@ALEC_states) July 21, 2017
Acosta acknowledged that some of the licensing regimes make sense, especially ones focused on health and safety, but some can be done away with. “Certifying skills and specialized knowledge helps consumers,” Acosta said. “That is far different, however, from using licensing to limit competition, bar entry, or create a privileged class.”
Asserting that excess licensing hinders the American workforce, Acosta listed three major points. The cost and complexity of licensing creates an economic barrier for Americans seeking a job, excessive licensing creates a barrier for Americans that move from state to state, and it creates a barrier for Americans looking to leverage technology and to expand their job opportunities.
— Secretary Acosta (@SecretaryAcosta) July 21, 2017
He touted the president’s message of “America First,” asserting the nation’s workforce is the greatest in the world. He assured the room full of state and local government officials that the Department of Labor would welcome their input on rule-making across the board.
Highlighting President Donald Trump’s “Made in America Week,” Acosta visited Gordon Sign Co., which touts itself as the oldest sign store in America.
Acosta has regularly visited job sites across the country ever since his confirmation to the post in April.
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