WEST ORANGE, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 10/22/13 -- When compared with last year's data, a higher percentage of people with disabilities are employed, while a lower percentage of people without disabilities are participating 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 Tuesday, October 22, the employment-to-population ratio increased slightly from 27.7 percent in September 2012 to 27.8 percent in September 2013 (up 0.4 percent; 0.1 percentage points) for working-age people with disabilities. "This change indicates that a slightly larger proportion of people with disabilities are working, which is the first time since May that we have seen optimistic news," added Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., UNH-IOD Associate Professor of Economics. "This was not true for people without disabilities."
For people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio was roughly the same -- 70.8 percent in September 2012 and 70.9 percent in September 2013. 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 decreased slightly for people with disabilities, from 4.8 percent in September 2012 to 4.7 percent in September 2013 (down 2.9 percent; 0.1 percentage points). "This reflects that some of the people with disabilities found jobs, because the labor force participation rate held steady, meaning the people are not exiting the labor force," according to John O'Neill, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation's Director of Employment and Disability Research. In contrast, for people without disabilities the percentage looking for work decreased from 5.7 percent in September 2012 to 5.2 percent in September 2013 (down 7.9 percent; 0.5 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).
Furthermore, the labor force participation rate results remained constant for people with disabilities. The rate was 32.5 percent in September 2012 and September 2013. The labor force participation rate is the percentage of people who are working or actively looking for work. A slight decrease was seen among people without disabilities -- from 76.4 percent to 76.1 percent (down 0.4 percent; 0.3 percentage points). "Roughly the same portion of people with disabilities are engaged in the labor force, which is encouraging given the proportion of people with disabilities are working," said Dr. Houtenville.
"These numbers are not seasonally adjusted," noted Dr. O'Neill. "The collection of disability employment statistics began a few years ago, and it will take some time for seasonal trends to become evident."
This month's Update was delayed due to the partial Federal government shutdown. Last month's TIDE Update, issued on September 6, 2013, suggested negative results 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 were working. The next Trends in Disability Employment - National Update will be issued on Friday, November 8, 2013.
NOTE: The statistics in the Trends in Disability Employment - National Update are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, but are NOT identical. They have been customized by the University of New Hampshire to efficiently combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64).
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
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