Over the last decade, 11 states have restricted employers’ access to the credit reports of job applicants. We document a significant decline in county-level vacancies after these laws were enacted: Job postings fall by 5.5 percent in affected occupations relative to exempt occupations in the same county and the same occupation nationwide. Cross-sectional heterogeneity in the estimated effects suggests that employers use credit reports as signals: Vacancies fall more in counties with a large share of subprime residents, while they fall less in occupations with other commonly available signals.
Since the Great Recession, 11 states have restricted employers' access to the credit reports of job applicants. We document that county-level vacancies decline between 9.5 percent and 12.4 percent after states enact these laws. Vacancies decline significantly in affected occupations but remain constant in those that are exempt, and the decline is larger in counties with many subprime residents. Furthermore, subprime borrowers fall behind on more debt payments and reduce credit inquiries postban. The evidence suggests that, counter to their intent, employer credit check bans disrupt labor and credit markets, especially for subprime workers.
We document that county-level job vacancies decline between 9.5 and 12.4 percent after states enact laws that restrict employers' access to the credit reports of job applicants. The evidence suggests that, counter to their intent, employer credit-check bans disrupt labor and credit markets, especially for workers who are subprime borrowers.