Mississippi occupational licensing burden places it in the top half among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the non-profit Institute for Justice, Mississippi’s overall burden was ranked 19th overall. California had the highest burden, while Wyoming had the lowest. 

The overall burden combines the number of low-and-middle income occupations, along with other factors including average fees, average calendar days lost, average exams, average minimum grade, and average minimum age. 

IJ reviewed 102 occupations, and Mississippi licenses 66, or about 65 percent of all low-and-middle income occupations. Only 14 states license more occupations. Louisiana and Washington both license 77 occupations, the most, while Wyoming licenses just 26. 

Mississippi does well, however, in the burden required to obtain a license coming in at just 46th. The average fees in Mississippi total $330, while the average days lost is 160. 

Today, approximately 19 percent of Mississippians need a license to work compared to just 5 percent in the 1950s. The net result is that Mississippi has lost 13,000 jobs because of occupational licensing and the state has suffered an economic value loss of $37 million. 

To put that into perspective, just by legislative action to rollback unnecessary licenses, we can create two Nissan plants…without spending a dime of taxpayer dollars.

Instead of relying on government, these are actions that will encourage and promote economic growth in Mississippi. If that is our goal, we need to trust in the benefits of the free market and a “lighter touch” from government and occupational licensing regimes and we need to return to a belief in individual responsibility.