WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - Aug 1, 2014) - Amid a rising jobs report for Americans without disabilities, people with disabilities continue to fall behind in finding employment, 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). Efforts are underway to support employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities.
In the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Jobs Report released Friday, August 1, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 26.4 percent in July 2013 to 26.2 percent in July 2014 (down 0.8 percent; 0.2 points) for working-age people with disabilities. For people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 71.4 percent in July 2013 to 72.2 percent in July 2014 (up 1.1 percent; 0.8 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 July's jobs data, the percentage of people with disabilities looking for work decreased, from 5.3 percent in July 2013 to 4.0 percent in July 2014 (down 24.3 percent; 1.3 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 5.8 percent in July 2013 to 4.9 percent in July 2014 (down 14.8 percent; 0.9 percentage points).
"This morning's report shows some continued improvement in the employment outlook for people without disabilities, but people with disabilities continue to experience a downturn in their employment outlook," according to John O'Neill, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation's Director of Employment and Disability Research. "This persistent bad news heightens the need to find new and innovative strategies to expand employment opportunities of people with disabilities and develop early intervention to assist with the transition from education to work.
"By all indications people with disabilities are not benefiting from the post-Great Recession economic recovery. These numbers should ignite a call to action for advocates, employers, policymakers. Indeed, the recent reauthorization of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which was slated to be reauthorized in 2007, was in part spurred by recognition of the need to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities," according to Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., UNH-IOD Associate Professor of Economics.
There are many programs that assist with the transition from college to careers and improve employment outcomes for students with disabilities. One example is the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, which combines real-world work experience through internships and classroom learning for college students with and without disabilities. Students receive academic credit and gain experience to make them more marketable candidates to future employers. Since 2010, Kessler Foundation has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to the Washington Center to fund scholarships for New Jersey students with disabilities.
"As more individuals with disabilities are furthering their education and going to college, we are proud to support programs that provide work experience," said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. "The Washington Center is impacting the lives of students with disabilities by helping them find their independence, build their resumes, and shape their future careers. We anticipate that WIOA, with its emphasis on transition, will support the efforts of these talented individuals in finding employment and contributing their skills, while feeling valued for their abilities."
In July 2014, among workers ages 16-64, the 4,066,000 workers with disabilities represented 2.9 percent of the total 139,470,000 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, September 5, 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.