SOURCE: Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation

December 05, 2014 10:50 ET

nTIDE Jobs Report: Positive Jobs Picture Brightens Outlook for People With Disabilities

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

WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - Dec 5, 2014) - As the overall job market improves, more Americans with disabilities are finding employment for the second month in a row, 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 continue to create and expand jobs for people with disabilities. 

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Jobs Report released Friday, December 5, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 26.5 percent in November 2013 to 26.9 percent in November 2014 (up 1.4 percent; 0.4 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). 

"For the first time this year, we are seeing continued job growth for people with disabilities," said Debra Brucker, Ph.D., project director at UNH-IOD. "In comparison to November 2013, 187,000 more Americans with disabilities are now earning a paycheck."

The labor force participation rate, however, decreased from 30.7 percent in November 2013 to 30.4 percent in November 2014 (down 0.8 percent; 0.3 percentage points) for working-age people with disabilities. The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work. 

"The continued increase in the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities is good news, but we cannot ignore the fact that people with disabilities are continuing to leave the labor market and not look for work," according to John O'Neill, Ph.D., director of employment and disability research at Kessler Foundation.

A community-based approach is the basis for a new program supported by Kessler Foundation. In 2013, the Foundation awarded a $449,961 grant to Vanderbilt University Kennedy Center, in Nashville, Tenn., to expand "Putting Faith to Work"-- which provides faith communities with tools to build their capacity to address employment needs of their members with disabilities, connect them with job opportunities in their fields of interest and provide individualized support. The program is currently being implemented in Minnesota, Texas, Kentucky and Tennessee.

"Faith communities are a source of strength and support in all aspects of life for their members," said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. "They are well-known in the communities in which they serve and are, therefore, a perfect bridge between employers and their talented, job-seeking members with disabilities. While many individuals find jobs through friends and networking with people they know, places of faith can expand this network of potential employers."

In November 2014, among workers ages 16-64, the 4,282,000 workers with disabilities represented 3.1 percent of the total 139,603,000 workers in the U.S.

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

The next nTIDE will be issued on Friday, January 9, 2015.

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 grants 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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