According to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment—Monthly Update (nTIDE), the May jobs report indicates that Americans with disabilities continue to experience disparity in the economy’s job growth. Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD) issue the nTIDE. A Kessler Foundation news release adds that efforts are underway in an effort to support employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Jobs Report, released June 6, suggests that the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 27.2% in May 2013 to 25.8% in May 2014 for working-age individuals with disabilities. For those without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 70.8% in May 2013 to 71.7% in May 2014. The release notes that the employment-to-population ratio reflects the percentage of individuals who are working relative to the total population.

May’s jobs data reports that the percentage of individuals with disabilities looking for work decreased, reducing from 4.9% in May 2013 to 4.2% in May 2014. According to the release, this percentage stems from the number of job seekers divided by the number of individuals in the total population multiplied by 100. For individuals without disabilities, the percentage looking for work also declined from 5.4% in May 2013 to 4.5% in May 2014.

John O’Neill, PhD, Kessler Foundation director of Employment and Disability Research, states in the release that while the report shows mixed results for the overall economy, individuals with disabilities continue to be left out of the recovery.

“More action needs to be taken to expand employment opportunities for this talented population as they continue the frustrating search for a job,” O’Neill adds.

Andrew Houtenville, PhD, UNH-IOD, associate professor of Economics, notes that, “For the past 2 months, fewer people with disabilities are looking for work when compared to last year’s corresponding months. Coupled with a slide in the employment-to-population ratio, the employment environment for people with disabilities remains dim while they strive to find work or maintain employment”

The release reports that in spite of this dreary outlook, non-profits and businesses are working to support efforts to create or expand employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, including veterans. Veteran Staffing Network (VSN), a social enterprise employment agency for veterans with and without disabilities, is among these organizations working with job seekers with disabilities to identify job skills and interests, matching them with the needs of employers.

Rodger DeRose, president, CEO, Kessler Foundation, adds in the release that the foundation awarded nearly half a million dollars to VSN in order to expand the organization’s reach and serve more individuals.

The release states that in May 2014, among workers aged 16 to 64 years old, 3,976,000 workers with disabilities represented 2.9% of the total 138,353,000 workers in the US.

The next nTIDE is set to be issued July 3.

Source: Kessler Foundation