For the second consecutive month, unemployment declined for people with and without disabilities, according to the recently released National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) COVID Update.

While this is a positive sign, experts caution that further improvements are needed to define a downward trend, a media release from Kessler Foundation notes.

In April of 2020, restrictions on economic activity in the US due to the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated an unprecedented rise in furloughs and people looking for work, prompting the addition of this mid-month nTIDE COVID Update. The mid-month nTIDE follows two key unemployment indicators – furloughs, or temporary layoffs, and the number of people looking for work, comparing trends for people with and without disabilities.

This graphic compares the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with and without disabilities, capturing pre-pandemic and current unemployment data from January 2020 to September 2021. Unemployment for people with and without disabilities declined for the second consecutive month, as economic activity increased, but levels of unemployment remain above pre-pandemic levels. (courtesy of Kessler Foundation)

“Although September’s nTIDE COVID Update graphic shows lower unemployment, levels are still higher than pre-pandemic levels for both groups,” nTIDE co-author Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and research director of the UNH Institute on Disability, notes.

“It remains unclear whether these chronic elevations constitute a ‘new normal,’ or a phase that will be followed by more substantial recovery. There will be multiple factors at play over the coming months, including the ongoing vaccination campaign and new recommendations for booster doses.

“However, the graphic also shows that people with disabilities are looking for work at rates higher than before the pandemic,” Dr. Houtenville continues. “They are striving to work in greater numbers, most likely motivated by the opportunities in the evolving labor market, as well as the need to provide for themselves and their families.”

[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, PR Newswire]

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