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Labor Department Finds Fewer With Disabilities Unemployed


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As the economy added 223,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department said fewer people with disabilities were unemployed. (Thinkstock)

As the economy added 223,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department said fewer people with disabilities were unemployed. (Thinkstock)

Amid signs of continued improvement in the overall job market, the unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities dropped as well, government figures indicate.

The jobless rate for people with disabilities fell to 10 percent in April, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday. That’s a significant decline from 11.7 percent the month prior.

A confluence of factors appear to be responsible for the drop in unemployment. While fewer individuals with disabilities were deemed “unemployed,” changes in the total population of Americans with disabilities measured as well as the number of people seeking work affected the figures.

The jobless rate for the general population also improved, falling just slightly to 5.4 percent, the Labor Department said.

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 (5 Responses)

  1. Mark L. Olson says:

    The data published by the US DoL on the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities is useless and so obviously inaccurate it should not be disclosed. The US DoL believes that 90% of persons with disabilities 16 and over living outside institutions are “employed?” What is their definition of employed? Where do they get their data? Laughable if the reality weren’t so daunting.

  2. AJC Westwood says:

    How old is this story? I started to comment on’s basically baloney, especially if you became hopelessly overeducated, which tends to scare people (though they still have enough gall to offer me MINIMUM wage for professional doctoral-level work). I can’t even get a job at McDonalds, cos I don’t speak, and have seizures. So I waste my time studying the brain. I’m not in school, so can’t be taken seriously…except online, where under a variety of usernames, I can engage in discussions with top scientists, and even Nobel Prize winners – they seem to think I have something to contribute. I wonder WHO is being hired? Certainly not those of us, who jumped every hoop imaginable to get an education.

  3. Margaret says:

    Excellent points, Mr. Olson. I also want to know how unemployment is calculated. There are few jobs out there for individuals who have more than mild disabilities. A friend with Asperger’s is often appalled how few fellow Aspies are gainfully employed, and this is the mild end. When it comes to stats, the old line about computers is also true–garbage in, garbage out. Being a cynic, I presume it’s easier to lie and pretend there isn’t a problem out there.

  4. Kailynne B. says:

    I believe the statistics are based on those individuals who are not employed but who are actively looking for work. So, if they receive SSI/SSDI or have simply given up on looking for work, I don’t believe their numbers are included in the 10%. In addition, the statistics don’t indicate how many of the 90% who are “employed” are actually working full time or making a living wage. From my experience, many people with severe disabilities work part time – sometimes fewer than 10 hours per week – and continue to receive benefits while working.
    I think it would be more helpful to see statistics on how many in the general versus disabled population are not only working, but able to live on their wages alone, without public assistance or disability benefits.

  5. jen says:

    I think one needs to take into account all the new folks that were put onto the disability roles(huge increases there) and then ended up getting some part time work. Some funny business going on with the numbers I would say… certainly not any jobs looking up out west for those who live with disability.

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