Unemployment for people with disabilities declined markedly in November to well below pre-pandemic levels, according to the recent National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) COVID Update. While seasonal hiring may account for some of the drop, nTIDE experts find reasons to be optimistic about the overall picture for workers with disabilities. 

“This major decline brings unemployment back to where it was pre-COVID-19, which was a good spot for people with disabilities,” said Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics at the University of Hampshire (UNH) and research director of the UNH Institute on Disability. “This month’s numbers are better than the November data for 2015 to 2019, years when people with disabilities were making headway in the labor force. It looks like they may be back on track following the disruptions of the pandemic,” he added.

There are more reasons for optimism, according to nTIDE co-author John O’Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Employment Research at Kessler Foundation. Referencing the December 6 nTIDE report, Dr. O’Neill noted the gains in the employment-to-population ratio and labor force participation rates for people with disabilities. “This tells us that unemployment has dropped because people are finding jobs,” he asserted. “It is noteworthy that this decline is occurring despite the counter pressures of the rise in the U.S. population, and consequently, in the number of jobseekers with disabilities. Let’s hope that this positive pattern extends into the new year.”

Plans for Deeper Dive in 2023

Monitoring the National Trends in Disability Employment helps us track the impact of economic shifts on people with disabilities. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wane, the impact of inflation continues to rise. In 2023, the nTIDE team plans to transition the COVID Update to a ‘deeper dive’ into the Bureau of Labor Statistics data for people with disabilities.

Register now for our upcoming nTIDE webinars scheduled for January 6 and January 20, 2023.

[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, EurekAlert]

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October 2022 nTIDE COVID Update: Little Change in Unemployment