The employment picture for people with disabilities took a nosedive in April, with the unemployment rate reaching 15.2 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.

Boosted by an increase in the number of Americans with disabilities seeking work, the unemployment rate rose significantly compared to the 13.9 percent jobless rate in March, returning to levels seen earlier this year. However, the figures continue to fall short of record unemployment in August 2009, which hit 16.9 percent.

Meanwhile, those without disabilities also continued to experience a difficult job market in April. Overall, 290,000 jobs were added during the month, but with seasonal variations factored in, the general unemployment rate grew to 9.9 percent after remaining steady at 9.7 percent for the first part of the year.

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The Department of Labor began tracking employment among people with disabilities in October 2008. It is too soon to establish seasonal trends within this group, so employment figures specific to those with disabilities are not seasonally adjusted, accounting for some variation between such data and that collected on the population as a whole.

Employment statistics on people with disabilities cover 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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