New government data shows that hiring is on the rise and Americans with disabilities appear to be sharing in the gains.

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities across the country dropped sharply in December to 10.3 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday.

That’s down considerably from the 12.1 percent reported the month prior.

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The Labor Department statistics, released as part of the agency’s monthly jobs report, indicate that the nation’s economy added 292,000 positions in December and the overall unemployment rate remained steady at 5 percent.

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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