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Barriers to employment for persons with a disability

Friday, April 26, 2013

This week BLS published a news release examining barriers to employment, types of assistance, and other issues for people with a disability. Our monthly Employment Situation report provides information on the employment status of people with and without disabilities. This week’s release provides more detailed information gathered in May 2012 about several specific topics related to employment of people with disabilities. In May 2012, about 28.3 million men and women in the civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over had a disability. Persons with a disability tend to be older than those with no disability, reflecting the increased incidence of disability with age. Half of all persons with a disability who were not working in May 2012 reported some type of barrier to employment. When asked to identify barriers they had encountered, most reported that their own disability was a barrier to employment (80.5 percent). Other barriers cited included lack of education or training (14.1 percent), lack of transportation (11.7 percent), and the need for special features at the job (10.3 percent).

Among employed people with a disability, over half had some difficulty completing their work duties because of their disability. About 27.8 percent reported a little difficulty in completing work duties, 21.1 percent reported moderate difficulty, and 7.0 percent reported severe difficulty. About 44.1 percent of employed persons with a disability had no difficulty completing their current work duties. The news release also provides information on career-assistance and financial-assistance programs in which disabled people have participated, requested changes in the workplace to accommodate disabilities, and commuting to work, working at home, and flexible work hours among employed people with disabilities.