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July Employment Data for People with Disabilities Show Mixed Results

by User Not Found | Aug 02, 2013

Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire release August TIDE Report - National Update

DURHAM, NH – August 2, 2013. When compared with last year’s data, a smaller percentage of people with disabilities is working, while a higher percentage is engaged in the labor force, according to today's Trends in Disability Employment – National Monthly Update (TIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD).

In Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “first-Friday” data released Friday, August 2, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 26.9 percent in July 2012 to 26.4 percent in July 2013 (down 1.9 percent; 0.5 percentage points) for working-age people with disabilities.  “This change indicates that a lesser proportion of people with disabilities are working, which is consistent with last month,” added Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., UNH-IOD Professor of Economics.  “For people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 70.9 percent in July 2012 to 71.4 percent in July 2013 (up 0.7 percent; 0.5 percentage points).”  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).

However, the labor force participation rate results were positive for people with disabilities.  The rate increased from 31.5 percent in July 2012 to 31.7 percent in July 2013 (up 0.6 percent; 0.2 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 77.4 percent to 77.2 percent (down 0.3 percent; 0.2 percentage points).  “More people with disabilities are becoming more engaged in the labor force, which is encouraging.  It is unclear, however, whether they are finding jobs,” according to John O’Neill, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation’s Director of Employment and Disability Research.

In addition, the percent actively looking for work increased slightly for people with disabilities, from 4.7 percent in July 2012 to 5.3 percent in July 2013 (up 13.7 percent; 0.6 percentage points).  “This reflects that more people with disabilities are entering the labor force and fewer people with disabilities are working," said Dr. Houtenville.  In contrast, for people without disabilities the percentage looking for work decreased from 6.5 percent in July 2012 to 5.8 percent in July 2013 (down 10.8 percent; 0.7 percentage points).  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). 

 “Because the data for people with disabilities still need to be seasonally adjusted, these numbers still need to be interpreted with caution,” noted Dr. O’Neill. “That adjustment will be incorporated later this year.”

Last month’s TIDE Update, issued on July 5, 2013, also suggested mixed in the engagement of people with disabilities in the workforce, as indicated by a rise in labor force participation but a decline in the percentage that are working.  The next Trends in Disability Employment – National Update will be issued on Friday, September 6, 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.

About 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. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

About the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire

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 http://www.researchondisability.org

For more information, or to interview an expert, contact:

Adam Dvorin, 973.286.0290; Adam.Dvorin@winningstrat.com

Lauren Scrivo, 973.768.6583; LScrivo@KesslerFoundation.org

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