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People With Disabilities Sidelined As Hiring Increases


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Job seekers saw a boost in hiring in December, but people with disabilities did not appear to get a piece of the good karma.

Employment data released Friday from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that unemployment among those with disabilities rose to 13.5 percent in December. That’s up from 13 percent the prior month, the lowest rate seen in two-and-a-half years.

The increase in joblessness among Americans with disabilities occurred as fewer people in this group were employed and more decided to stop looking for work altogether.

The negative job news for the disability community comes in the face of a bright spot in employment for the general population. The Labor Department reported that the economy added 200,000 new jobs in December and general unemployment declined to 8.5 percent.

The Department of Labor began tracking employment among people with disabilities in October 2008. There is not yet enough data compiled to establish seasonal trends among this population, so statistics for this group are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on people with disabilities covers those over the age of 16 who do not live in institutions. The first employment report specific to this population was made available in February 2009. Now, reports are released monthly.

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Comments (8 Responses)

  1. Tara says:

    It’s not all that surprising unfortunately. I worry about this for my daughter who is 17.

  2. Marjorie Madfis says:

    13.5% is for all disabilities – what about people with developmental disabilities – who have never had a chance to be in the workforce so are not counted as “unemployed”? I have heard numbers like 80%.

  3. Dennis says:

    Employer have made it increasingly clear they do not wish to hire people that have any form of disability; generally for mythical reasons. Employers see persons with a disability as a liability, rather than an asset, no matter what they law says. The Federal government has been far too lax on enforcement for the last twenty years. It is time the Feds It is time the Federal government becomes part of the solution and not part of the problem. Increase enforcement, but also increase hiring for persons with a disability in jobs other than tokens. This is not an Obama issue, it is a systemic issue that has been in place for decades.

  4. Thomas Charles Wood says:

    The figure for us Asperger’s/Autism adults is that > 85% of us are permanently unemployed, especially those of us like myself who have college degrees in Engineering.

  5. Maggie says:

    Let’s call it like it is…”liability?” Government or private employers do not want to be sued for lack of access. The ADA can become our worse enemy the more cases won against employers. Maggie Dee

  6. Patrick W. Hickman Jr says:

    I was working part time to suppliment my SSDI, but now not able to do the job I was to preform.(cleaning offises) Why can’t I land a desk job now? I do have a head on my shoulders. I have an Associate Degree in Accounting Technology received in 1997. And why should’t my benifit increased, since I tried to work. We that receive SSDI are one step away from being homeless. And so many people who are not even Americans, some of them get more money then we do. IT MAKES ME MAD.

  7. Glen S says:

    Have they actually made it clear? Is the community as a whole willing to do the work required? The joy of Walgreen’s hiring practices is that Walgreens expects equal work. They will do their part to fit the individual with a disability into a job description, but they will not compromise the job description and they expect the individual to do the work.

    At least one here seems to expect employers to compromise standards.

  8. Don says:

    I’m a right arm amputee and boy do I know what it’s like to be discriminated against while job seeking. Economic conditions have no bearings on the hiring the disabled. Hiring is difficult for us when the economy is depressed or booming – it doesn’t matter. Even with a technical degree and about 6 years of entry level job experience it took me over 3 years to land a technical job. I was so desperate that I accepted another entry level tech job that paid only 25 cents over the minimum wage at that time in the mid 90’s when the going rate for my job description and experience was about $17/hr. During this time the economy was going well and you basically had to hide to not have a job, but that apparently didn’t apply to the disabled.

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