The unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities fell significantly in the latest jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The jobless rate declined to 11.1 percent in July, the Labor Department said, down from 12.1 percent the month prior.

However, the shift appears to be at least partly due to fewer people being counted in the total disability population that the monthly jobs report reflects.

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While less people were unemployed in July than the month prior, the number of employed people also dropped and the participation rate — which measures the number of people who are employed or actively looking for work — actually declined slightly as well.

At the same time, the economy added 255,000 jobs and the unemployment rate for the general population remained steady at 4.9 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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