keslKessler Foundation reports that according to the recent Trends in Disability Employment—National Monthly Update (TIDE), the employment and labor force participation of individuals with disabilities has substantially declined compared to this time last year.

TIDE is issued by the Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD).

A news release from the Foundation notes that in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December 6 “first-Friday” data, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 27.4% in November 2012 to 26.5% in November 2013 for working-age individuals with disabilities. The Foundation adds that the results come at a time when the general employment outlook for the country is positive.

John O’Neil, PhD, Kessler Foundation’s director of Employment and Disability Research, notes that while the news may be positive about the employment outlook for the country, “when looking at employment for people with disabilities, a lesser proportion of people with disabilities are working.”

The release reports that individuals without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 70.9% in November 2012 to 71% in November 2013. The Foundation explains that employment-to-population ratio reflects the percentage of individuals who are working relative to the total population.

Additionally, the release states that the labor force participation rate decreased for individuals with disabilities, falling from 31.6% in November 2012 to 30.7% in November 2013. The labor force participation rate reflects the percentage of individuals working or actively looking for work.

Andrew Houtenville, PhD, UNH-IOD associate professor of Economics, points out that the results indicate, “Fewer people with disabilities are engaged in the labor force, which is discouraging and suggests that people with disabilities are not participating in the country’s recovery from the recession.”

According to the release, individuals without disabilities seeking work decreased from 4.3% in November 2012 to 4.2% in November 2013. The Foundation notes that the percentage seeking work reflects the percentage of individuals who are looking for work relative to the total population.

These numbers are not seasonally adjusted, says O’Neil, “The collection of disability employment statistics began a few years ago, and it will take some tome for seasonal trends to become evident,” O’Neil adds.

The Foundation also reports that last month’s TIDE Update, released November 8, exhibited results which may have been skewed by the partial Federal government shutdown in October. The next TIDE—National Update is slated for release on January 10.

Source: Kessler Foundation