Many hailed the December unemployment rate released last week, which remained below 5%.
But, the numbers are still pretty bad for one group of employees: those with disabilities.
While the jobless rate in December for people with a disability declined to 9% from 10.3% in the same month last year, it’s still nearly double the rate for employees without a disability, according to the unemployment report put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today.
Making matters worse, most employees with disabilities are largely still not in the job market at all. The participation rate – those working or actively looking for work – for employees with disabilities it still hovering near 20%, compared to nearly 70% among those with no disabilities.
Turns out, the majority of individuals with at least one disability don’t identify themselves as a person with a disability.
The findings come from a national survey conducted by Families and Work Institute, done in collaboration with the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, and they shine light on an issue that may be hampering more robust employment for those with disabilities, even in workplaces where employers are going out of their way to hire more people from this group.
“When asked if they identify as a person with a disability, two-thirds (66%) of people with a disability said no. Asking the single question ‘do you have a disability,’ on an employment application will probably under represent the population of your employees who would qualify as having a disability,” said Kenneth Matos, the Institute’s former senior director of research who is now vice president of research at Life Meets Work.
It also becomes an issue for employed individuals who (more…)