August marked the fourth consecutive month of stable unemployment numbers for people with disabilities, according to the National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) COVID Update for August 2022. August unemployment held steady at near pre-pandemic levels, showing little change in the numbers of people with and without disabilities on temporary layoff or looking for work.

These August COVID Update data are consistent with the employment and labor force participation statistics reported in this month’s September 2 nTIDE release, according to Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics at the University of Hampshire (UNH) and research director of the UNH Institute on Disability.

“For people with disabilities we are back to the same picture we saw in March 2020, just prior to the national lockdown precipitated by the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” commented Dr. Houtenville, referring to the latest nTIDE mountain graph. “While the current picture is a positive one, challenges are on the horizon as the Federal Reserve grapples with inflation numbers not seen since the early 1980s” he noted.

“With five interest rate hikes so far this year, and the likelihood of two more to come, we need to anticipate an impact on the labor market down the road,” he advised. “Successful reining in of inflation means slower growth – that may eventually prompt some employers to cut back on hiring, resulting in tightening of the labor market and rising unemployment. As Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell cautioned in a national press conference last week, we need to ‘Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst’.”   

[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, EurekAlert]