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U.S. Employment Statistics for Persons with a Disability

Outline: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment status of persons with a disability in the United States.

Main Digest

Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment status of persons with a disability in the United States.

The proportion of the population employed in 2009--the employment-population ratio--was 19.2 percent among those with a disability, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The employment-population ratio for persons without a disability was 64.5 percent. The unemployment rate of persons with a disability was 14.5 percent, higher than the rate for those with no disability, which was 9.0 percent.

This is the first news release focusing on the employment status of persons with a disability. The information in this release was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides statistics on employment and unemployment in the United States. Beginning in June 2008, questions were added to the CPS that were designed to identify persons with a disability in the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over, and 2009 is the first calendar year for which annual averages are available. The collection of these data is sponsored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. For more information, see the Technical Note.

Some highlights from the 2009 data are:

For all age groups, the employment-population ratio was much lower for persons with a disability than for those with no disability. (See table 1.) The unemployment rate of persons with a disability was well above the rate of those with no disability. (See table 1.) Persons with a disability were over three times as likely as those with no disability to be age 65 or over. (See table 1.) Nearly one-third of workers with a disability were employed part time, compared with about one-fifth of those with no disability. (See table 2.)

Demographic characteristics

Persons with a disability tend to be older than persons with no disability, reflecting the increased incidence of disability with age. In 2009, almost half of persons with a disability were age 65 and over, compared with about one-tenth of those with no disability. Women were somewhat more likely to have a disability than men, partly reflecting the greater life expectancy of women. Among major race and ethnicity groups, the prevalence of a disability was higher for blacks and whites than for Asians and Hispanics. (See table 1.)

Employment

In 2009, the employment-population ratio the proportion of the population that is employed was 19.2 percent for persons with a disability. Among those with no disability, the ratio was much higher (64.5 percent). In part, this reflects the older age profile of persons with a disability; older individuals--regardless of disability status--are less likely to be employed. However, across all age groups, persons with a disability were much less likely to be employed than those with no disability. (See table 1.)

Persons with a disability who have completed higher levels of education were more likely to be employed than those with less education. However, at all levels of education, persons with a disability were less than half as likely to be employed than were their counterparts with no disability. (Because many people have completed their education by age 24, educational attainment data are presented for those age 25 and over.) (See table 1.)

Workers with a disability were more likely than those with no disability to work part time. Among workers with a disability, 32 percent usually worked part time in 2009, compared with 19 percent of workers without a disability. A slightly larger proportion of workers with a disability worked part time for economic reasons than those with no disability (8 and 6 percent, respectively). These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table 2.)

Workers with a disability were slightly more likely than those with no disability to work in service occupations (20 percent, compared with 18 percent) and in production, transportation, and material moving occupations (14 per- cent, compared with 11 percent). Those with a disability were less likely to work in management, professional, and related occupations (31 percent, compared with 38 percent). (See table 3.)

In 2009, 16 percent of workers with a disability were employed in federal, state, and local government, about the same percentage as those with no disability (15 percent). Seventy-three percent of workers with a disability were employed as private wage and salary workers, compared with 78 percent of those with no disability. A larger proportion of workers with a disability were self-employed than were those with no disability (11 and 7 percent, respectively). (See table 4.)

Unemployment

Individuals with a disability were more likely to be unemployed than were those with no disability. The unemployment rate for persons with a dis- ability was 14.5 percent in 2009, well above the figure of 9.0 percent for those with no disability. (Unemployed persons are those who did not have a job, were available for work, and were actively looking for a job in the past 4 weeks.) (See table 1.)

Among persons with a disability, the jobless rate for men (15.1 percent) was slightly higher than the rate for women (13.8 percent). As is the case among those without a disability, the unemployment rates in 2009 for those with a disability were higher among blacks (22.1 percent) and Hispanics (19.0 percent) than among whites (13.3 percent) and Asians (11.6 percent). (See table 1.)

Not in the labor force

Persons who are neither employed nor unemployed are referred to as not in the labor force. A large proportion of those with a disability--about 8 in 10--were not in the labor force in 2009, compared with 3 in 10 of those with no disability. In part, this reflects the fact that many of those with a disability are age 65 and over. However, for all age groups, persons with a disability were more likely than those with no disability to be out of the labor force.

For persons with and without a disability, the vast majority of those not in the labor force reported that they do not want a job. Among those who do want a job, a subset is classified as marginally attached to the labor force. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were avail- able for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among persons not in the labor force, 1 percent of those with a disability were marginally attached to the labor force in 2009, compared with 3 percent of those with no disability. (Per- sons marginally attached to the labor force include discouraged workers.) (See table 5.)

Technical NoteThe estimates in this release are based on annual average data obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households that is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Questions were added to the CPS in June 2008 to identify persons with a disability in the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and older. The addition of these questions allowed the Bureau of Labor Statistics to begin releasing monthly labor force data from the CPS for persons with a disability. The collection of these data is sponsored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Ser- vice: (800) 877-8339. Reliability of the estimates Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and non-sampling error. When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the "true" population values they represent. The exact difference, or sampling error, varies depending on the particular sample selected, and this variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the "true" population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence.

The CPS data also are affected by non-sampling error. Non-sampling error can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the population, inability to obtain information for all respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, and errors made in the collection or processing of the data. In addition, unlike other CPS data, the estimates of the population of persons with a disability are not controlled to independent population totals because such data are not currently available. Without controls, estimates are more apt to vary in unpredictable ways from one month to the next. Additionally, the labor force estimates for persons with disabilities have not been seasonally adjusted due to the fact that these data have been collected for a few months only. Typically, several years worth of monthly estimates are required before seasonally adjusted estimates can be produced.

A full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and information on estimating standard errors is available online at www.bls.gov/cps/ documentation.htm#reliability. Disability questions and concepts The CPS uses a set of six questions to identify persons with disabilities. In the CPS, persons are classified as having a disability if there is a response of "yes" to any of these questions. The disability questions appear in the CPS in the following format:

This month we want to learn about people who have physical, mental, or emotional conditions that cause serious difficulty with their daily activities. Please answer for household members who are 15 years and older.

Is anyone deaf or does anyone have serious difficulty hearing

Is anyone blind or does anyone have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses

Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

Does anyone have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs

Does anyone have difficulty dressing or bathing

Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping

The CPS questions for identifying individuals with disabilities are only asked of household members who are age 15 and older. Each of the questions ask the respondent whether anyone in the household has the condition described, and if the respondent replies "yes," they are then asked to identify everyone in the household who has the condition. Labor force measures from the CPS are tabulated for persons age 16 and older. More information on the disability questions and the limitations of the CPS disability data is available on the BLS Web site at www.bls.gov/cps/cpsdisability_faq.htm. Other definitions Other definitions used in this release are described briefly below. Additional information on the concepts and methodology of the CPS is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm.

Employed persons are all those who, during the survey reference week (which is generally the week including the 12th day of the month), (a) did any work at all as paid employees; (b) worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm; (c) worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in a family-operated enterprise; or (d) were temporarily absent from their jobs because of illness, vacation, labor dispute, or another reason.

Unemployed persons are all persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.

Civilian labor force comprises all persons classified as employed or unemployed.

Unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed persons as a percent of the civilian labor force.

Not in the labor force includes all persons who are not classified as employed or unemployed. Information is collected on their desire for and availability to take a job at the time of the CPS interview, job search activity in the prior year, and reason for not looking in the 4-week period prior to the survey week. This group includes individuals marginally attached to the labor force, defined as persons not in the labor force who want and are available for a job and who have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months). They are not counted as unemployed because they had not actively searched for work in the prior 4 weeks. Within the marginally attached group are discouraged workers--persons who are not currently looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available or there are none for which they would qualify. The other persons marginally attached to the labor force group includes persons who want a job but had not looked for work in the past 4 weeks for reasons such as family responsibilities or transportation problems.

At work part time for economic reasons, a measure sometimes referred to as involuntary part time, refers to individuals who gave an economic reason for working 1 to 34 hours during the reference week. Economic reasons include slack work or unfavorable business conditions, inability to find full-time work, and seasonal declines in demand. Those who usually work part time must also indicate that they want and are available for full-time work. Occupation, industry, and class of worker for the employed relate to the job held in the survey reference week. Persons with two or more jobs are classified in the job at which they worked the greatest number of hours. Persons are classified using the 2002 Census occupational and 2007 Census industry classification systems. The class-of-worker break- down assigns workers to the following categories: Private and government wage and salary workers, self-employed workers, and unpaid family workers. Wage and salary workers receive wages, salary, commissions, tips, or pay in kind from a private employer or from a government unit. Self-employed persons are those who work for profit or fees in their own business, profession, trade, or farm. Only the unincorporated self-employed are included in the self-employed category. Self-employed persons who respond that their businesses are incorporated are included among wage and salary workers because, in a legal sense, they are paid employees of a corporation.

Table 1. Employment status of the civilian non-institutional population by disability status and selected characteristics, 2009 annual averages [Numbers in thousands]

CharacteristicCivilian
non-institutional
population
Civilian labor forceNot in
labor
force
TotalParticipation
rate
EmployedUnemployed
TotalPercent of
population
TotalRate

TOTAL

Total, 16 years and over

235,801154,14265.4139,87759.314,2659.381,659

Men

114,13682,12372.073,67064.58,45310.332,013

Women

121,66572,01959.266,20854.45,8118.149,646

PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY

Total, 16 years and over

26,9816,05022.45,17419.287614.520,931

Men

12,1843,22126.42,73522.448615.18,963

Women

14,7972,82919.12,43916.539013.811,968

Age

16 to 64 years

14,8455,22035.24,40629.781415.69,625

16 to 19 years

59717328.910717.96638.2424

20 to 24 years

79237647.527935.29725.9416

25 to 34 years

1,64675846.160636.815320.1887

35 to 44 years

2,23093141.878235.114916.01,298

45 to 54 years

4,1821,47635.31,27830.619813.42,706

55 to 64 years

5,3981,50527.91,35425.115210.13,893

65 years and over

12,1368306.87686.3617.411,306

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

White

22,0395,06623.04,39119.967513.316,972

Black or African American

3,49363318.149314.114022.12,861

Asian

62111718.910416.71411.6504

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

2,47856222.745518.410719.01,915

Educational attainment

Total, 25 years and over

25,5915,50121.54,78818.771212.920,091

Less than a high school diploma

6,55870510.85748.713218.75,852

High school graduates, no college (1)

9,1601,77319.41,53516.823813.47,387

Some college or associate degree

6,1741,78228.91,54225.024013.54,393

Bachelor's degree and higher (2)

3,7001,24133.51,13830.81038.32,459

PERSONS WITH NO DISABILITY

Total, 16 years and over

208,820148,09270.9134,70364.513,3899.060,728

Men

101,95278,90277.470,93569.67,96710.123,050

Women

106,86869,19064.763,76959.75,4217.837,678

Age

16 to 64 years

182,958142,38877.8129,35870.713,0299.240,570

16 to 19 years

16,4466,21737.84,73128.81,48623.910,229

20 to 24 years

19,73214,59574.012,48563.32,11014.55,137

25 to 34 years

38,63532,54084.229,40976.13,1319.66,095

35 to 44 years

38,69033,30786.130,73479.42,5737.75,382

45 to 54 years

40,18334,73086.432,33580.52,3946.95,453

55 to 64 years

29,27221,00071.719,66567.21,3356.48,273

65 years and over

25,8625,70522.15,34520.73596.320,158

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

White

168,864120,57871.4110,60565.59,9728.348,286

Black or African American

24,74816,99968.714,53258.72,46714.57,749

Asian

10,2207,03968.96,53163.95087.23,181

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

30,41321,79071.619,19163.12,59911.98,623

Educational attainment

Total, 25 years and over

172,642127,28173.7117,48868.19,7937.745,361

Less than a high school diploma

19,57111,44158.59,79750.11,64414.48,130

High school graduates, no college (1)

52,30936,41369.632,95263.03,4619.515,896

Some college or associate degree

45,55235,03376.932,34671.02,6877.710,519

Bachelor's degree and higher (2)

55,21044,39380.442,39376.82,0004.510,816

Footnotes
(1) Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
(2) Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.


Table 2. Employed full- and part-time workers by disability status and age, 2009 annual averages [Numbers in thousands]
Disability status and ageEmployedAt work
part time for
economic
reasons (1)
TotalUsually
work
full time
Usually
work
part time

TOTAL

16 years and over

139,877112,63427,2448,913

16 to 64 years

133,764109,15524,6098,671

65 years and over

6,1143,4792,635241

Persons with a disability

16 years and over

5,1743,5021,672425

16 to 64 years

4,4063,1341,271394

65 years and over

76836840131

Persons with no disability

16 years and over

134,703109,13225,5728,488

16 to 64 years

129,358106,02123,3378,278

65 years and over

5,3453,1112,234210

Footnotes
(1) Refers to persons who, whether they usually work full or part time, worked 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for an economic reason such as slack work or unfavorable business conditions, inability to find full-time work, or seasonal declines in demand. Persons who usually work part time for an economic reason, but worked 35 hours or more during the reference week are excluded. Also excludes employed persons who were absent from their jobs for the entire reference week.

NOTE: Full time refers to persons who usually work 35 hours or more per week; part time refers to persons who usually work less than 35 hours per week.


Table 3. Employed persons by disability status, occupation, and sex, 2009 annual averages [Percent distribution]
OccupationPersons with a disabilityPersons with no disability
TotalMenWomenTotalMenWomen

Total employed (in thousands)

5,1742,7352,439134,70370,93563,769

Occupation as a percent of total employed

Management, professional, and related occupations

30.528.532.737.634.740.8

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

13.315.011.515.516.814.0

Management occupations

9.812.37.111.113.28.8

Business and financial operations occupations

3.52.74.44.43.65.2

Professional and related occupations

17.113.521.222.117.926.8

Computer and mathematical occupations

1.62.40.82.53.61.3

Architecture and engineering occupations

1.32.20.42.03.20.6

Life, physical, and social science occupations

0.60.60.61.01.01.0

Community and social services occupations

1.91.42.51.71.22.2

Legal occupations

0.90.90.91.21.21.3

Education, training, and library occupations

5.32.78.26.23.09.7

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations

1.61.61.52.02.01.9

Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations

3.81.76.35.62.78.8

Service occupations

20.316.824.317.514.221.1

Healthcare support occupations

2.60.74.92.40.54.5

Protective service occupations

2.03.10.82.33.31.1

Food preparation and serving related occupations

5.54.36.85.54.76.5

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations

5.87.04.63.74.23.2

Personal care and service occupations

4.41.87.33.61.55.9

Sales and office occupations

25.517.434.624.116.932.1

Sales and related occupations

11.310.412.311.210.711.7

Office and administrative support occupations

14.27.022.312.96.220.4

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

9.216.60.99.517.30.9

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

0.71.20.30.71.00.3

Construction and extraction occupations

4.98.80.55.39.90.3

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

3.66.70.23.56.40.3

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

14.420.67.411.316.95.1

Production occupations

7.610.14.75.47.43.2

Transportation and material moving occupations

6.910.62.75.99.51.9

Table 4. Employed persons by disability status, industry, class of worker, and sex, 2009 annual averages [Percent distribution]
Industry and class of workerPersons with a disabilityPersons with no disability
TotalMenWomenTotalMenWomen

Total employed (in thousands)

5,1742,7352,439134,70370,93563,769

Industry as a percent of total employed

Agriculture and related industries

2.74.01.21.52.10.7

Nonagricultural industries

97.396.098.898.597.999.3

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

0.50.70.30.50.80.1

Construction

6.410.61.67.012.01.4

Manufacturing

10.013.85.710.213.86.2

Wholesale trade

2.43.11.72.73.71.7

Retail trade

12.912.413.511.310.911.7

Transportation and utilities

5.06.73.05.27.62.5

Information

2.12.51.62.32.62.1

Financial activities

5.85.36.36.96.07.9

Professional and business services

9.910.59.210.811.99.5

Education and health services

22.711.735.122.710.736.2

Leisure and hospitality

9.18.310.09.18.49.9

Other services

5.55.35.74.94.55.4

Public administration

5.15.15.14.95.14.7

Class of worker as a percent of total employed(1)

Wage and salary workers

88.886.691.393.191.894.5

Private industries

73.073.672.377.979.676.1

Government

15.812.919.015.212.318.4

Federal

2.93.22.72.62.72.4

State

5.33.86.94.53.55.6

Local

7.55.99.48.16.110.4

Self-employed workers

11.113.38.66.98.15.5

Footnotes
(1) Includes a small number of unpaid family workers, not shown separately.

NOTE: The self-employed refer to the unincorporated self-employed. Self-employed persons whose businesses are incorporated are classified as wage and salary workers.


Table 5. Persons not in the labor force by disability status, age, and sex, 2009 annual averages [Numbers in thousands]
CategoryTotal,
16 years and
over
16 to 64 yearsTotal,
65 years and
over
TotalMenWomen

PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY

Total not in the labor force

20,9319,6254,4895,13611,306

Persons who currently want a job

620459220239161

Marginally attached to the labor force (1)

193166877927

Discouraged workers(2)

6050292010

Other persons marginally attached to the labor force(3)

133116585817

PERSONS WITH NO DISABILITY

Total not in the labor force

60,72840,57014,70725,86320,158

Persons who currently want a job

5,2734,8212,2702,550453

Marginally attached to the labor force (1)

2,0341,9271,027900107

Discouraged workers (2)

71867342624745

Other persons marginally attached to the labor force (3)

1,3151,25460165362

Footnotes
(1) Data refer to persons who want a job, have searched for work during the prior 12 months, and were available to take a job during the reference week, but had not looked for work in the past 4 weeks.
(2) Includes those who did not actively look for work in the prior 4 weeks for reasons such as thinks no work available, could not find work, lacks schooling or training, employer thinks too young or old, and other types of discrimination.
(3) Includes those who did not actively look for work in the prior 4 weeks for such reasons as school or family responsibilities, ill health, and transportation problems, as well as a number for whom reason for non-participation was not determined.

Above information courtesy of The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


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Cite: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English. Author: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electronic Publication Date: 2010/08/30. Last Revised Date: 2016/11/06. Reference Title: "U.S. Employment Statistics for Persons with a Disability", Source: U.S. Employment Statistics for Persons with a Disability. Abstract: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment status of persons with a disability in the United States. Retrieved 2019-11-21, from https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/statistics/disability-employment-statistics.php - Reference Category Number: DW#42-5132.
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