State regulations require 700 hours of training to work as a manicurist in Alabama.
Despite the high rate of unemployment in the US, state legislatures impose onerous and usually pointless requirements on those wishing to enter a trade or line of work.
To work as a manicurist requires only about 12 hours worth of training in Alaska and 40 in Iowa, but 600 hours in Oregon and 700 in Alabama.
Legislators cite health and safety concerns, but Morris Kleiner, of the University of Minnesota, compared consumer complaints between Minnesota and Wisconsin and found no differences in the number of complaints between tightly regulated Wisconsin and less-regulated Minnesota.
Members of a licensed occupation benefit because they increase the perception of quality and thus the demand for their services, while at the same time they restrict supply.
Government officials benefit from the electoral and monetary support of the regulated, as well as the public image that they are protecting consumers.
However, for the public, occupational licensure has many costs and few benefits.