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Economic News Release
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Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, August 25, 2010             USDL-10-1172

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


      PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY: LABOR FORCE CHARACTERISTICS -- 2009


The proportion of the population employed in 2009--the employment-population 
ratio--was 19.2 percent among those with a disability, the U.S. Bureau of 
Labor Statistics reported today. The employment-population ratio for persons 
without a disability was 64.5 percent. The unemployment rate of persons with 
a disability was 14.5 percent, higher than the rate for those with no disabil-
ity, which was 9.0 percent. //DISABL ZUNI3PO Test 11/2/2020//

This is the first news release focusing on the employment status of persons 
with a disability. The information in this release was obtained from the 
Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 
households that provides statistics on employment and unemployment in the 
United States. Beginning in June 2008, questions were added to the CPS that 
were designed to identify persons with a disability in the civilian noninsti-
tutional population age 16 and over, and 2009 is the first calendar year for 
which annual averages are available. The collection of these data is spon-
sored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. 
For more information, see the Technical Note.

Some highlights from the 2009 data are:

   --For all age groups, the employment-population ratio was much lower for 
     persons with a disability than for those with no disability. (See table 1.)
    
   --The unemployment rate of persons with a disability was well above the 
     rate of those with no disability. (See table 1.)
    
   --Persons with a disability were over three times as likely as those with 
     no disability to be age 65 or over. (See table 1.)
     
   --Nearly one-third of workers with a disability were employed part time, 
     compared with about one-fifth of those with no disability. (See table 2.)

Demographic characteristics

Persons with a disability tend to be older than persons with no disability, 
reflecting the increased incidence of disability with age. In 2009, almost 
half of persons with a disability were age 65 and over, compared with about 
one-tenth of those with no disability. Women were somewhat more likely to 
have a disability than men, partly reflecting the greater life expectancy 
of women. Among major race and ethnicity groups, the prevalence of a disa-
bility was higher for blacks and whites than for Asians and Hispanics. 
(See table 1.)

Employment

In 2009, the employment-population ratio--the proportion of the population 
that is employed--was 19.2 percent for persons with a disability. Among 
those with no disability, the ratio was much higher (64.5 percent). In part, 
this reflects the older age profile of persons with a disability; older in-
dividuals--regardless of disability status--are less likely to be employed. 
However, across all age groups, persons with a disability were much less 
likely to be employed than those with no disability. (See table 1.)

Persons with a disability who have completed higher levels of education were 
more likely to be employed than those with less education. However, at all 
levels of education, persons with a disability were less than half as likely 
to be employed than were their counterparts with no disability. (Because 
many people have completed their education by age 24, educational attainment 
data are presented for those age 25 and over.) (See table 1.)

Workers with a disability were more likely than those with no disability to 
work part time. Among workers with a disability, 32 percent usually worked 
part time in 2009, compared with 19 percent of workers without a disability. 
A slightly larger proportion of workers with a disability worked part time 
for economic reasons than those with no disability (8 and 6 percent, respect-
ively). These individuals were working part time because their hours had 
been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See 
table 2.)

Workers with a disability were slightly more likely than those with no dis-
ability to work in service occupations (20 percent, compared with 18 percent) 
and in production, transportation, and material moving occupations (14 per-
cent, compared with 11 percent). Those with a disability were less likely to 
work in management, professional, and related occupations (31 percent, com-
pared with 38 percent). (See table 3.)

In 2009, 16 percent of workers with a disability were employed in federal, 
state, and local government, about the same percentage as those with no 
disability (15 percent). Seventy-three percent of workers with a disability 
were employed as private wage and salary workers, compared with 78 percent 
of those with no disability. A larger proportion of workers with a disabil-
ity were self-employed than were those with no disability (11 and 7 percent, 
respectively). (See table 4.)

Unemployment

Individuals with a disability were more likely to be unemployed than were 
those with no disability. The unemployment rate for persons with a dis-
ability was 14.5 percent in 2009, well above the figure of 9.0 percent for 
those with no disability. (Unemployed persons are those who did not have 
a job, were available for work, and were actively looking for a job in 
the past 4 weeks.) (See table 1.)

Among persons with a disability, the jobless rate for men (15.1 percent) 
was slightly higher than the rate for women (13.8 percent). As is the case 
among those without a disability, the unemployment rates in 2009 for those 
with a disability were higher among blacks (22.1 percent) and Hispanics 
(19.0 percent) than among whites (13.3 percent) and Asians (11.6 percent). 
(See table 1.)

Not in the labor force

Persons who are neither employed nor unemployed are referred to as not in 
the labor force. A large proportion of those with a disability--about 8 in 
10--were not in the labor force in 2009, compared with 3 in 10 of those 
with no disability. In part, this reflects the fact that many of those with 
a disability are age 65 and over. However, for all age groups, persons with 
a disability were more likely than those with no disability to be out of 
the labor force.

For persons with and without a disability, the vast majority of those not 
in the labor force reported that they do not want a job. Among those who 
do want a job, a subset is classified as marginally attached to the labor 
force. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were avail-
able for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. 
They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work 
in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among persons not in the labor force, 
1 percent of those with a disability were marginally attached to the labor 
force in 2009, compared with 3 percent of those with no disability. (Per-
sons marginally attached to the labor force include discouraged workers.) 
(See table 5.)



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Last Modified Date: October 31, 2020