The National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD), reportedly indicates that an employment gap for individuals with disabilities remains. A Kessler Foundation news release states that in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Report, released October 3, the seasonally adjusted employment rate hit a new low for the first time since July 2008.

Andrew Houtenville, PhD, UNH-IOD associate professor of Economics, classifies the results as “very important news for the overall economy.”

Houtenville adds that the number of individuals with jobs has increased, and as such “this is not a case in which people have stopped looking for work, causing the unemployment rate to go down.”

John O’Neill, PhD, Kessler Foundation’s director of Employment and Disability Research emphasizes that while the economy is thriving, “we see a stark contrast between people with and without disabilities. This is evident in the differences in the employment-to-population ratios between these two groups.”

The release notes that the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 27.8% in September 2013 to 26.9% in September 2014 for working-age individuals with disabilities.

For individuals without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 70.9% in September 2013 to 71.9% in September 2014. The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population.

Despite these findings, the release reports that there is a range of initiatives intended to broaden job training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. These initiatives include The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC), which provides students from around the world hands-on experience in the nation’s capital combined with an academic curriculum, civic engagement work, and leadership develop.

The release says that through TWC’s Leadership Initiative for Students with Disabilities, these opportunities, including accessible housing, are made available to students who would otherwise find it challenging to participate. Kessler Foundation has also awarded more than $10,000 in grants to TWC to fund scholarships for New Jersey students with disabilities.

The release adds that in September 2014, among workers aged 16 to 64 years old, the 4,316,000 workers with disabilities represented 3.1% of the total 138, 910, 000 workers in the US.  The release also emphasizes that the statistics in the National Trends in Disability Employment – Update are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, but are not identical.  The statistics have been customized by the University of New Hampshire to efficiently combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 years to 64 years old).

The next nTIDE will be issued November 7, 2014.

Source: Kessler Foundation