Job prospects for people with disabilities appeared to fall behind in February even as the Labor Department reported that the economy added some 227,000 jobs.

New statistics released Friday from the U.S. Department of Labor indicate that the unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities rose to 15.8 percent in February. That’s a sharp increase over the previous month when 12.9 percent unemployment was reported.

At the same time, the job market as a whole continued to gain steam. The unemployment rate for the general population remained steady at 8.3 percent, as more hiring occurred in fields ranging from hospitality and business services to manufacturing.

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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.

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