Five years after starting to keep track of whether people with disabilities are working, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found fewer people with disabilities in the labor force even as the population has grown, reports the Pittsbugh Gazette
“In June 2008 when the bureau started to keep track of the disabled population’s relationship to the labor force, there were 27.3 million people who were disabled and 21.7 percent of them were either working or looking for a job.As of March, that number had grown to 28.9 million, but their participation rate in the labor force had fallen to 18 percent.
“During the same time period, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities in the labor force has risen from 9.3 percent to 13 percent. The trends for people with disabilities mirrors the larger population, in which the unemployment rate rose from 5.6 percent in June 2008 to 7.4 percent in March (without seasonal adjustment) while the labor force participation rate has fallen from 72.6 percent to 68.7 percent. “In this market when there are so many people looking for work, people with disabilities have to outshine everybody else,” said Eric Smith, associate director of the Center for Accessible Technologies in Berkeley, Calif.
“In a survey last year of people with disabilities, the results of which were released this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 80.5 percent of the people without jobs cited their disability as a barrier to employment.Other barriers, according to the survey, included a lack of education and training (14.1 percent), a lack of transportation (11.7 percent) and the need for special accommodations at the job (10.3 percent).”