The unemployment rate for people with disabilities dropped sharply in the month of April to 10 percent, from 11.7 percent last month, and 12.5 percent the previous year.
The latest statistics come from the Department of Labor, which first began tracking disability employment statistics in October 2008. Although the DOL does not attempt to explain the myriad factors impacting the unemployment rate, the drop mirrors the trend in the general population, which dropped to 5.4 percent nationwide. For much of 2015, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities had, in fact, moved in the opposite direction.
The unemployment rate, however, only accounts for individuals considered to be part of the workforce, meaning they have not been out of work for longer than one year. As a result, people receiving long-term benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, are not included in the calculation.
However, the civilian labor force participation rate – which measures the percentage of the population employed as a whole – traditionally demonstrates a far more significant disparity between people with and without disabilities.
The participation rate for people without disabilities, which consists of about 220.7 million people, is 69.8 percent. For people with disabilities, which consists of about 29.6 million individuals, the participation rate is a mere 19.3 percent. The latter figure has barely budged from the same point the previous year, when it stood at 19.1 percent.
Additional data on the employment of people with disabilities is available on the DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website.