WEST ORANGE, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 06/07/13 -- The latest statistics indicate a mixed employment picture for people with disabilities, according to today's Trends in Disability Employment - National Monthly Update (TIDE). This release is the fourth monthly analysis 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, June 7, labor force participation rate results were positive for people with disabilities. The rate increased from 31.9 percent in May 2012 to 32.1 percent in May 2013 (up 0.6 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 76.5 percent to 76.3 percent (down 0.3 percent; 0.2 percentage points). "This is positive evidence that people with disabilities are becoming more engaged in the labor force. Whether they are finding jobs is not clear, but this is encouraging," according to John O'Neill, PhD, Kessler Foundation's Director of Employment and Disability Research.
However, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 27.5 percent in May 2012 to 27.2 percent in May 2013 (down 1.1 percent) for working-age people with disabilities. "This change indicates that a lesser proportion of people with disabilities are working, which is counter to the numbers of the last two months," added Andrew Houtenville, PhD, UNH-IOD Professor of Economics. "For people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio remained about the same (up 0.4 percent)." 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 slightly for people with disabilities, from 4.5 percent in May 2012 to 4.9 percent in May 2013 (up 10.2 percent). "This reflects that more people with disabilities are entering the labor force and fewer people with disabilities are working," said Houtenville. In contrast, for people without disabilities the percentage looking for work decreased from 6.0 percent in May 2012 to 5.4 percent in May 2013 (down 8.8 percent). 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."
Last month's TIDE Update, issued on May 3, 2013, also suggested improvement in the engagement of people with disabilities in the workforce, as indicated by a rise in labor force participation. The next Trends in Disability Employment - National Update will be issued on Friday, July 5, 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.
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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