WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - Sep 5, 2014) - While people with disabilities continue to fall behind in obtaining employment, the percent looking for work among Americans with and without disabilities is nearly equal, according to today's National Trends in Disability Employment - Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Disability job training and employment initiatives support efforts to find work.
In the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Jobs Report released Friday, September 5, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 26.4 percent in August 2013 to 26.3 percent in August 2014 (down 0.4 percent; 0.1 percentage points) for working-age people with disabilities. 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).
"While this number is down, we are seeing a tapering of the downward trend in this indicator over the last year. For example, from February 2013 to February 2014, the employment-to-ratio declined 10.9 percent (1.1 percentage points), a much larger decline," according to John O'Neill, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation's Director of Employment and Disability Research.
The percentage of people with disabilities looking for work was 4.4 percent in August 2014, which is very similar to that of people without disabilities, which was 4.6 percent in August 2014. This percentage is the number of people looking for work divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100.
"Even after so many months of widening disparities between people with and without disabilities, it is remarkable that people with disabilities are still engaged in the labor market," according to Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., UNH-IOD Associate Professor of Economics.
"Applications of new technology are advancing our progress in expanding job opportunities for people with disabilities," noted Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of Kessler Foundation. "In 2012, Kessler Foundation awarded a Signature Employment Grant of $425,000 to the Office of Research Services at the University of Hawaii, to fund an innovative approach using virtual reality software technology. Learn more about this new software application, EmployAble: A World Without Barriers, which helps jobseekers with disabilities navigate the world of job hunting and adapt to the workplace."
In August 2014, among workers ages 16-64, the 4,165,000 workers with disabilities represented 3.0 percent of the total 138,871,000 workers in the U.S.
"The figures in 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, October 3, 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.