Unemployment increased slightly in June for people with and without disabilities, according to Friday’s National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) COVID Update. The June data are consistent with the gains in labor force participation rates detailed in this month’s prior nTIDE report, noted nTIDE expert John O’Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Employment Research at Kessler Foundation.

“We need to remember that unemployment data includes people looking for work, so this month’s unemployment picture appears to reflect people entering the labor market to increase family income in response to the rapidly rising cost of living,” said Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics at the University of Hampshire (UNH) and research director of the UNH Institute on Disability.

While efforts to stem inflation will begin to slow economic growth, there will be a lag in the effects on employment. “We would not be seeing the impact of counter-inflationary measures on the labor market so soon,” Dr. Houtenville explained. “It takes a while for a downshift in economic growth to lead to job losses. If the inflation trend continues, however, the Fed may take more actions that would raise the risk of a more drastic downshift.”

Monitoring the National Trends in Disability Employment will help us track the impact of these economic shifts on people with disabilities. Register now for upcoming nTIDE webinars scheduled for August 5 and August 19: nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar Series | Center for Research on Disability.

nTIDE Field Notes

As the economy recovers from pandemic-related restrictions, widespread staffing shortages are hindering business in many sectors, including disability employment services. Many service providers are reporting inadequate staffing as people in the field pursue new opportunities, according to Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, senior vice president of Grants and Communications at Kessler Foundation.

“Resignations and job swapping are straining the system, diverting resources to hiring initiatives and job training at a time when jobseekers with disabilities need to compete for available openings,” she reported. “Because continuity of services is especially important for people with disabilities, we need to see greater stability in staffing of vocational service providers.”   

For in-depth analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment trends, see the recent nTIDE Special Edition: Workers with disabilities overcome pandemic setbacks, outpacing people without disabilities to set new records for employment.

[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, EurekAlert]