Job numbers increased in March for people with disabilities, continuing a 6-month trend above historic highs, according to the new National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Numbers also were up for people without disabilities, who are still striving to reach their pre-pandemic levels of employment.
Month-to-Month nTIDE Numbers (February to March 2022 comparison)
In the recently released US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Report, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 33.1% in February to 34.1% in March 2022 (up 3.0% or 1.0 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased slightly from 73.8% in February to 74.5% in March 2022 (up 0.9% or 0.7 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).
“It’s significant that the major economic indicators have remained above historic highs for people with disabilities over the last six months,” said John O’Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Research at Kessler Foundation. “This trend contrasts sharply with what we saw after the Great Recession when people with disabilities lagged people without disabilities for several years.”
Findings were similar for March’s labor force participation rates. For working-age people with disabilities, the labor force participation rate increased from 36.6% in February to 37.8% in March 2022 (up 3.3% or 1.2 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate also increased from 76.9% in February to 77.2% in March 2022 (up 0.4% or 0.3 percentage points). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working, not working and on temporary layoff, or not working and actively looking for work.
“Rather than participating in the Great Resignation, people with disabilities remained engaged in the labor market throughout the pandemic. Their labor force participation rate did not drop appreciably early-on in the pandemic,” remarked Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics and the research director of the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, adding, “and, in fact, has hovered just above its historic high, which dates back to just before the Great Recession started to hit the labor market.”
Year-to-Year nTIDE Numbers (March 2021 to March 2022)
The employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 29.6% in March 2021 to 34.1% in March 2022 (up 15.2% or 4.5 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio also increased from 71.55 in March 2021 to 74.5% in March 2022 (up 4.2% or 3 percentage points).
The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 33.4% in March 2021 to 37.8% in March 2022 (up 13.2% or 4.4 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate also increased from 76.1% in March 2021 to 77.2% in March 2022 (up 1.4% or 1.1 percentage points).
In March 2022, among workers ages 16-64, the 5,693,000 workers with disabilities represented 3.9% of the total 147,691,000 workers in the U.S.
[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, EurekAlert]
nTIDE February 2022 COVID Update: Little Improvement in Unemployment as Economy Weathers Waning Omicron Surge
nTIDE January 2022 Jobs Report: People with Disabilities Build on Job Gains to Break Historic Records