Colorado fares well in comparison of licensing burdens

A new report ranks Colorado among the top 20 percent of states for keeping burdens low for occupational licensing.

The White House report details a national increase in occupational licensing and recommends a policy framework for labor market regulations.

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has already implemented many of the practices recommended in the report to keep licensing requirements minimal while still protecting consumers.

“We are working to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens using a common sense approach that jointly benefits Colorado consumers and the economy,” said Joe Neguse, executive director of DORA .

Only 17.2 percent of the Colorado work force is required to hold a state license, a proportion that ranks as ninth lowest for licensing prevalence among the states. The highest proportion is found in Iowa, where 33.3 percent of the work force is required to hold state licenses for employment.

According to the report, the rate of occupational licensing has increased five-fold since the 1950s, reducing employment opportunities and increasing prices for consumers. Nationwide, 25 percent of the workforce, on average, is required to hold a state license.

Among its recommendations for policymakers, the report suggests vesting responsibility for supervising licensing laws and conducting sunrise and sunset reviews in a single umbrella agency can be a helpful way to simultaneously ensure adequate resources, efficiency and sufficient analytical expertise.

DORA houses nine divisions, including its Division of Professions and Occupations, which licenses more than 50 professions and 400,000 licensees.