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July nTIDE Jobs Report: Employment Gains Continue for Americans with Disabilities

August 7, 2015
Source: Institute on Disability at University of New Hampshire

Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire release July nTIDE Report – Monthly Update

More Americans with disabilities continue to find jobs, while employment holds steady for the general population, according to todays National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). The transition from school to work, however, remains challenging for young people with disabilities. College-to-career programs are helping to overcome this barrier by preparing students for the workplace and facilitating the matching of students with disabilities with employers.

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics Jobs Report released Friday, August 7, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 26.2 percent in July 2014 to 27.2 percent in July 2015 (up 3.8 percent; 1 percentage point). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio also increased slightly from 72.2 percent in July 2014 to 72.6 percent in July 2015 (up 0.6 percent; 0.4 percentage points). The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population (the number of people working divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100). In comparison to July 2014, 169,000 more Americans with disabilities are in the workforce.

“The improvement in the employment situation for people with disabilities continues to outstrip improvements made by people without disabilities,” according to John ONeill, Ph.D., director of employment and disability research at Kessler Foundation. “This trend has been seen for the last 10 months and is exceptionally good news because it occurred in July, the month that we celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA).”

For people with disabilities, the labor force participation rate also increased from 30.2 percent in July 2014 to 30.6 percent in July 2015 (up 1.3 percent; 0.4 percentage points). For people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate decreased slightly from 77.2 percent in July 2014 to 76.8 percent in July 2015 (down 0.5 percent; 0.4 percentage points). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work.

“Employment-wise, this year is turning out to be a very good year for people with disabilities,” said Andrew J. Houtenville, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and research director at UNH-IOD. “They are overcoming losses that occurred in 2014. The employment trend for people with disabilities was relatively flat from 2011 to 2013. We are eager to see if the trend in the coming months shoots past the 2011 to 2013 levels.”

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