Recently I posted a chart on the growth of occupational licensing boards in North Carolina. Here is the chart with what I wrote about it:

North Carolina … was adding a new licensing agency about every three years. Policymakers grew much more aggressive in regulating occupations, however. From 1970 to 2008, they were adding a new licensing agency about every 10 months. It is difficult to think legislators were discovering a new, clear-cut case for extreme state regulation of an occupation every 10 months for nearly four decades.

It’s a useful chart, I think, but at the same time, I think it’s missing a big part of the start. Some licensing boards control several licenses. So I wanted to look not just at the growth in occupational licensing boards over time, but also the occupational licenses the state requires through them (recognizing that boards could add licenses over time).

Here is what I produced. Compare it with the above chart, because I started this one at the end of World War II:

Creep, Explosion, Pause, … Contraction?

The hiatus in licensing starting in 2011 is a welcome development, especially after such a hyperregulatory climate the previous several decades. Still, what I’d like to see is those lines going down.

I’d like the next phase to be Contraction, as North Carolina policymakers restore the right to earn a living, as several other states in the past couple of years have been doing. It can be done.