Finally, Missouri Is #1 in Something We Can Be Proud Of …
The Reason Foundaton just released a major report on employment licensure in the United States. The good news, from an economic freedom perspective (which is, of course, the best perspective): Missouri ranks number 1, with fewer licensed occupations than any other state. We only license 41 different occupations, which is last, and best, by a good margin. So lets cheer for ‘ol Mizzouri!
Occupational licensure is often nothing more than a blatant attempt to limit competition and favor certain groups or companies. While Missouri may only license 41 occupations, many of the ones we do license still have no need whatsoever for licensing: barbers, dental hygienists, cosmetologists, hearing aid dispensers, and plenty more.
The other thing you need to consider is that many things that may be licensed elsewhere at the state level are licensed here at the county level, and as such are not included in the report. Saint Louis City and County license a number of different occupations, and most of them have absolutely no need for licensing. I’ll bet Jackson County does this, too, along with plenty of others. The licensing rules favoring certain unions in Saint Louis City and County are particularly blatant examples of regulatory attempts to squash competition. The rules for operating a stretcher van are also terrible. In the interest of fairness, I should praise Saint Louis County for being one of the rare examples of a local government that with some exceptions does not require a business license in order to attempt to make a living on your own.
All that being said, we should still be proud of Missouri for ranking first nationally, for licensing the fewest number of occupations. To paraphrase Jesus, which is always dangerous: The last shall be first!