"This change indicates that a lesser proportion of people with disabilities are working"
The latest statistics indicate weak employment results for people with disabilities across the board, according to today's Trends in Disability Employment - National Update (TIDE). This release is the fifth monthly analysis issued by the Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD).
In Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) "first-Friday" data released Friday, July 5, all indicators suggest that June was a difficult month for people with disabilities in comparison with June 2012.
The labor force participation rate for people with disabilities decreased from 31.9 percent in June 2012 to 31.4 percent in June 2013 (down 1.6 percent; 0.5 percentage points). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of people who are working or actively looking for work. In contrast, a small decrease was seen among people without disabilities - from 77.2 percent to 77.1 percent (down 0.1 percent; 0.1 percentage points). "This is evidence that people with disabilities are less engaged in the labor force, when compared to last June," according to John O'Neill, PhD, Kessler Foundation's Director of Employment and Disability Research.
Furthermore, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 27.4 percent in June 2012 to 26.4 percent in June 2013 (down 3.6 percent) for working-age people with disabilities. "This change indicates that a lesser proportion of people with disabilities are working," added Andrew Houtenville, PhD, UNH-IOD Professor of Economics. The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population (the number of people working divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).
In addition, the percent actively looking for work increased for people with disabilities, from 4.5 percent in June 2012 to 5.0 percent in June 2013 (up 9.8 percent). "Together with the decline in the labor force participation rate, this suggests fewer people with disabilities are in the labor force, and among those in the labor force, more are looking for jobs," said Houtenville. The percent looking for work reflects the percentage of people who are looking for work relative to the total population (the number of people looking for work divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).
"These numbers still need to be interpreted with caution because of the lack of seasonal adjustment," noted O'Neill. "Five years of data are required to adjust for seasonal fluctuations," he explained. "Data for people with disabilities have been formally tracked since June 2008, so that adjustment will be incorporated later this year."
Comparative data for TIDE Updates are calculated from BLS data by Dr. Houtenville. Last month's TIDE Update, issued on June 7, 2013, suggested mixed results for people with disabilities in the workforce, following several months of positive results. The next Trends in Disability Employment - National Update will be issued on Friday, August 2, 2013.
Trends in Disability Employment - National Update is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133B120006), and Kessler Foundation.
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability research and employment, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition and mobility for people with multiple sclerosis, brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, and other disabling conditions. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for job training and employment for people with disabilities.
The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. For information on the NIDRR-funded Employment Policy and Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, visit www.researchondisability.org
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