More than a fifth of all employees hold licenses, but the fraction varies considerably across professions. Health-care practitioners and legal workers are the most likely to be licensed, with 73 and 61 percent of workers licensed, respectively. Additionally, licensed workers—who generally must pay to be relicensed after an interstate move—are much less likely to move across state lines than are comparable workers without licenses, but only slightly less likely to move within their state.
Each month, The Hamilton Project has examined the “jobs gap,” which is the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needed to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who entered the potential labor force each month. The jobs gap closed in July 2017.
A substantial share of American workers must obtain a license from a state or local government to work in their professions. The share of workers nationwide required to have a license has risen dramatically since the 1950s, from just 5 percent to nearly 30 percent in 2008. This chart shows the share of the workforce that is licensed in every state based on estimates from a Harris poll conducted in the first half of 2013.
Each month, The Hamilton Project calculates America’s “jobs gap,” or the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while accounting for changes in the population. In this chart, The Hamilton Project applies the same jobs gap methodology to earlier recessions in 1981–82, 1990–91, 2001, and 2007–09.
Graduates of majors with initially low earnings experience faster earnings growth during the early-career years.
The U.S. minimum wage now stands at 38 percent of the median wage, the third-lowest among OECD countries.