Finding a job in Connecticut doesn’t have to be difficult

August 29, 2013

You may often hear Connecticut has too many regulations and it is not open for business. This is true and needs to change.

Compared to other states and the rest of the nation, Connecticut still lags behind in job growth since the end of the recession. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and using December 2007 to June 2009 as the official dates of the recession, Connecticut has only regained 53.6% of the private sector jobs that were lost in the recession. By comparison, the United States has recovered 80.7% of private sector jobs lost in the recession.

This ranks Connecticut as the 37th state in private sector recessionary jobs gained. 13 states including Texas, New York and Massachusetts have recovered all of their jobs lost during the recession. (See chart below)

In Connecticut, unemployment is at 8.1 percent compared to the national rate of 7.4 percent. And a recent report by the Connecticut Voices for Children says the youth unemployment rate is more than double at 17.1 percent (Citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census data.)
How can we improve the ability of people in Connecticut to find a job? For starters, we should make changes to our state’s occupational license laws. By eliminating fees, we can lower the cost of entering the workforce.

I encourage you to visit The think tank dug into licensure laws in Connecticut and how they affect one’s ability to land a job.

Their report found state government requires licenses for 241 occupations — the 15th most in the nation according to the Institute for Justice. Connecticut is:

  • one of just seven states to license tree trimmers and upholsterers
  • one of three that license home entertainment center installers
  • the only state that licenses conveyor operators and forest workers.

The Institute also found that nationally, licensing costs entrepreneurs an average of $209 in fees and requires at least one exam and about nine months of training and education (Carpenter II, Knepper, Erickson, & Ross, 2012). Many professions currently subject to licensure need not be licensed.

In 2012, Connecticut collected:

  • $219,655 in licensing fees from fire sprinkler installers, another
  • $143,990 from TV repairmen,
  • and $52,839 from interior designers.

These are just some examples of the burdensome regulations that our state imposes. These extra hurdles create a barrier for individuals attempting to enter the workforce.

The Yankee Institute study also looked into fees charged on people for continuing education and exams related to their jobs. Researchers found, while necessary in certain circumstances, many fees for continuing education courses and exams should be considered for repeal. Exams cost businesses millions of dollars every year, which are ultimately passed on to consumers as higher prices.

The state collected $9,044,950 in 2012 in these fees from local businesses. The fees are just another hoop job creators have to jump through making it more difficult to live and work in Connecticut.

The US Chamber of Commerce estimated in 2011 that burdensome regulations cost Connecticut more than 12,000 jobs (US Chamber of Commerce, 2011). Higher taxes and fewer job opportunities lead many people to look elsewhere for work. According to Chief Executive Magazine more than 16,000 net residents moved out of state last year, one of the highest rates in the nation on a per capita basis.

It has been said people vote with their feet. I will continue to work hard in Hartford to make sure we don’t give residents any more reasons to leave.