As unemployment ticked down again in January, new data shows that Americans with disabilities struggled to reap the benefits of an improving job market.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday that unemployment among Americans with disabilities dropped to 12.9 percent in January, down from 13.5 percent at the end of last year.

However, the gains appear to be the result — at least in part — of fewer people with disabilities looking for work. In fact, the number of people within this group who were employed declined in January, as did the number considered part of the labor force, meaning that they were working or seeking a job.

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Meanwhile, the labor market experienced unexpected growth, with the economy adding 243,000 jobs and unemployment among the general population dropping to 8.3 percent.

The Labor Department 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.