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Job Market Rocky For Those With Disabilities


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The unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities declined as 2013 came to a close, the government said Friday, but largely because many people stopped looking for work.

The jobless rate dipped to 11.9 percent in December for those with disabilities, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s down from 12.3 percent the month prior.

The decrease came as fewer people with disabilities were employed and many gave up on the workforce altogether.

Similar trends were seen in the general population in December with unemployment falling to 6.7 percent, down from 7 percent, as less people sought work and just 74,000 jobs were added to the economy.

Federal officials 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 (2 Responses)

  1. Eric says:

    The government’s figures are way too low. A more realistic number for the rate of unemployment among this group is closer to 80%. That’s way up from the 67% rate when Bill Clinton left office. One of the reasons I see for many people with disabilities leaving the workforce is the negative attitudes of employers, especially major corporations, toward hiring people with even minor disabilities. If an employer has a positive attitude toward hiring someone with even the slightest hint of a disability, then that company should be commended for such foresight. We need to start severely punishing companies that don’t hire people with disabilities…all they’re getting for keeping a person with a disability out of a job is a slap on the wrist. They should be punished with things like being denied government contracts (local, state and federal), hefty fines (a minimum of $10,000 to infinity) and even being forced out of business. The workplace environment for people with disabilities has always been very hostile. The biggest threat for people with disabilities is so-called “right-to-work” laws, which will allow for even more discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace. I oppose efforts at “right-to-work” in Missouri (already a hostile environment for people with disabilities seeking employment); I was treated like a second-class citizen when I lived in a “right-to-work” state (Georgia) nearly a quarter of a century ago.

  2. Carolyn Nowlin says:

    In the moderate / multiple Work Transition program I teach at for our district, I find that many of my students graduate with positions they could be hired in or at least volunteer in. Parents refuse to allow students to work because it decreases the disability checks they have come to depend upon for the rent, at best! As long as we continue to give students disability checks we are enabling families to become dependent upon them for generations to come.

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