SOURCE: Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation

April 04, 2014 10:55 ET

March Job Growth Leaves Behind People With Disabilities

Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire Release April nTIDE Report - Monthly Update

WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - Apr 4, 2014) - The March jobs data revealed that while more people with disabilities are looking for work in comparison to March of last year, fewer are employed. In contrast, the workforce is adding jobs for working-age Americans without disabilities, according to today's National Trends in Disability Employment - Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Innovative programs are being implemented to address the gap between people with and without disabilities.

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Jobs Report released Friday, April 4, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 27.3 percent in March 2013 to 25.5 percent in March 2014 (down 6.6 percent; 1.8 percentage points) for working-age people with disabilities. For people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased slightly from 70.2 percent in March 2013 to 71.1 percent in March 2014 (up 1.3 percent; 0.9 percentage points). The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population (the number of people working divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).

"This morning's report revealed that the workforce added jobs for people without disabilities, but fell short of expectations in terms of job loss for people with disabilities," according to John O'Neill, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation's Director of Employment and Disability Research. "Working-age Americans with disabilities continue to be excluded in the job growth. More strategies need to be developed to expand and create employment opportunities for talented individuals with disabilities." 

"Expanding employment for people with disabilities remains a challenge," acknowledged Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of Kessler Foundation. "There are, however, progressive steps being taken by corporate America. One example is Pepsi ACT (Achieving Change Together), a disability employment initiative supported by a public-private partnership of Ability Beyond, Kessler Foundation, Poses Foundation, Autism Speaks/New York Collaborates for Autism - Night of Too Many Stars, and PepsiCo. Pepsi ACT's objective is to increase company efficiency while promoting the hiring and retention of people with disabilities throughout PepsiCo's U.S. businesses."

According to March's data, the percentage of people with disabilities looking for work increased, from 4.5 percent in March 2013 to 4.9 percent in March 2014 (up 8.9 percent; 0.4 percentage points). This percentage is the number of people looking for work divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100). In contrast, for people without disabilities, the percentage looking for work declined from 5.7 percent in March 2013 to 5.0 percent in March 2014 (down 11.7 percent; 0.7 percentage points).

"People with disabilities are more actively searching for work compared to this time last year, suggesting that they are less discouraged about seeking employment," according to Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., UNH-IOD Associate Professor of Economics. "As the percentage working decreases, it is good to see the percent looking go up rather than down. It is a bit of a double-edged sword."

In March 2014, among workers ages 16-64, the 3,922,000 workers with disabilities represented 2.9 percent of the total 137,186,000 workers in the U.S.

"The figures in the nTIDE are not seasonally adjusted," noted Dr. O'Neill. "The collection of disability employment statistics began a few years ago, and it will take some time for seasonal trends to become evident."

The next nTIDE will be issued on Friday, May 2, 2014.

NOTE: The statistics in the National Trends in Disability Employment - Update are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, but are NOT identical. They have been customized by the University of New Hampshire to efficiently combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64).

nTIDE is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133B130015 & H133B120005), and Kessler Foundation.

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

About the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire
The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. For information on the NIDRR-funded Employment Policy and Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, visit http://www.ResearchonDisability.org.

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