Unemployment concerns eased slightly for Americans with disabilities in August, receding from near record levels the month prior, the Labor Department said Friday.

Last month, the unemployment rate dropped to 15.6 percent for those with disabilities, down from 16.4 percent in July. The highest rate ever recorded — 16.9 percent — was seen last August.

Not only were more people working last month as compared to the month before, but more people were considered part of the workforce, meaning that they had work or were actively looking for it.

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While this is a sign of improvement, employment prospects for people with disabilities continue to fall far short of those for their typically developing peers. The first annual look at the job situation for Americans with disabilities, which was released in late August, reflected a jobless rate that’s 60 percent higher for people with disabilities overall. Accordingly, despite improvement in August for people with disabilities, the unemployment rate for this population continues to be far higher than the 9.3 percent reported for the general population last month.

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 within this group, so numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

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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