WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - Jul 3, 2014) - Despite lasting gains for Americans without disabilities in the June jobs report, Americans with disabilities continue to lag in the economic growth, according to today's National Trends in Disability Employment -- Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Initiatives are underway to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
In the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Jobs Report released Thursday, July 3, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 26.4 percent in June 2013 to 25.6 percent in June 2014 (down 3.0 percent; 0.8 points) for working-age people with disabilities. For people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 71.2 percent in June 2013 to 72.2 percent in June 2014 (up 1.4 percent; 1.0 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).
According to June's jobs data, the percentage of people with disabilities looking for work decreased, from 5.0 percent in June 2013 to 4.3 percent in June 2014 (down 14.0 percent; 0.7 percentage points). This percentage is the number of people looking for work divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100. For people without disabilities, the percentage looking for work also declined from 5.9 percent in June 2013 to 4.7 percent in June 2014 (down 20.1 percent; 1.2 percentage points).
"This year is not looking all that great for people with disabilities. We are now at mid-year, and the monthly employment-to-population ratio has yet to increase over the same month last year," according to Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., UNH-IOD Associate Professor of Economics.
"The persistent bad news for people with disabilities is disconcerting and heightens the need for new and innovative strategies to expand employment opportunities of people with disabilities," according to John O'Neill, Ph.D.
Some strategies to expand employment opportunities are achieving success. One such strategy is the social enterprise business model, which creates jobs while benefiting the community. Several social enterprises funded by employment grants from Kessler Foundation are providing competitive jobs for people with disabilities. Destination Desserts, a food truck enterprise in St. Louis that employs people with brain injury, is one example. An initiative of the Center for Head Injury Services in St. Louis, Missouri, provides job training and employment opportunities in food preparation, sanitation and food sales. Having hired baking and marketing experts to develop a business plan, Destination Desserts expects to be self-sufficient by the end of its third year.
"Destination Desserts found success by capitalizing on the current trend of novelty food trucks bringing delicious treats people on lunch breaks and at local parks and entertainment events," said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. "Through this innovative social enterprise business, people with disabilities are gaining the skills needed to maintain lasting employment in baking and sales. Now, individuals who struggled to find employment in the past are earning market wages, gaining confidence and skills, and contributing their talents in an integrated setting -- working side-by-side with colleagues without disabilities."
In June 2014, among workers ages 16-64, the 3,934,000 workers with disabilities represented 2.8 percent of the total 139,280,000 workers in the U.S.
"The figures in nTIDE are not seasonally adjusted," noted Dr. O'Neill. "The collection of disability employment statistics began a few years ago, and it will take some time for seasonal trends to become evident."
The next nTIDE will be issued on Friday, August 1, 2014.
NOTE: The statistics in the National Trends in Disability Employment -- Update are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, but are NOT identical. They have been customized by the University of New Hampshire to efficiently combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64).
nTIDE is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133B130015 & H133B120005), and Kessler Foundation.
About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.
About the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire
The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. For information on the NIDRR-funded Employment Policy and Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, visit http://www.ResearchonDisability.org.