East Hanover, NJ – September 3, 2021 – The August job numbers rose for people with disabilities in contrast to declines for people without disabilities, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). This improvement may be a sign of resilience among workers with disabilities, who have continued striving to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
nTIDE COVID Update (month-to-month comparison)
In the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Report released Friday, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 30.8 percent in July to 31.5 percent in August 2021 (up 2.3 percent or 0.7 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio decreased slightly from 73.4 percent in July to 72.9 percent in August 2021 (down 0.7 percent or 0.5 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).
“This upward movement may be related to rising vaccination rates and people with disabilities feeling safer returning to the labor market,” said John O’Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Research at Kessler Foundation. “This is a reversal of the minor decline in the employment-to-population ratio we saw last month for people with disabilities,” he added.
The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 35.2 percent in July to 35.6 percent in August 2021 (up 1.1 percent or 0.4 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate also decreased from 77.6 percent in July to 76.8 percent in August 2021 (down 1.0 percent or 0.8 percentage points). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working, not working and on temporary layoff, or not working and actively looking for work.
“Throughout the course of the pandemic, people with disabilities have demonstrated tremendous resilience as evidenced by the strength of their labor force participation,” said Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics and the research director of the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability. “Given this resilience, we expect people with disabilities to strive to remain in the labor force (working, looking for work, or on furlough),” he added, “even as the Delta variant spreads, and many social distancing requirements are reinstated.”
Year-to-Year nTIDE Numbers (comparison to the same time last year)
The employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 28.8 percent in August 2020 to 31.5 percent in August 2021 (up 9.4 percent or 2.7 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio also increased from 69.7 percent in August 2020 to 72.9 percent in August 2021 (up 4.6 percent or 3.2 percentage points).
The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 33.6 percent in August 2020 to 35.6 percent in August 2021 (up 6 percent or 2 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate also increased from 76.1 percent in August 2020 to 76.8 percent in August 2021 (up 0.9 percent or 0.7 percentage points).
In August 2021, among workers ages 16-64, the 4,932,000 workers with disabilities represented 3.4 percent of the total 143,071,000 workers in the U.S.
Ask Questions about Disability and Employment
Each nTIDE release is followed by an nTIDE Lunch & Learn webinar.This live broadcast, hosted via Zoom Webinar, offers attendees Q&A on the latest nTIDE findings, provides news and updates from the field, as well as invited panelists to discuss current disability-related findings and events. On September 3, Samantha Evans, the Certification Manager at the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), a division of G3ict, joins Dr. Houtenville and Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, of Kessler Foundation, and Denise Rozell, Policy Strategist at AUCD. Join live or watch the recordings at: ResearchonDisability.org/nTIDE.
nTIDE COVID Update – Friday, September 24 at 12:00 pm Eastern
Stay tuned for our mid-month update about the employment of people with disabilities as we follow the impact of COVID-19 and look at the numbers in more detail.
NOTE: The statistics in the nTIDE are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers but are not identical. They are customized by UNH to combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64). nTIDE is funded, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) (90RT5037) 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 NIDILRR-funded Employment Policy and Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, visit ResearchOnDisability.org.
For more information, or to interview an expert, contact:
Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382, CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org.
Title: nTIDE Month-to-Month Employment Numbers for People with and without Disabilities
Caption: This graphic compares the economic indicators for July 2021 and August 2021, showing increases for people with disabilities and declines for people without disabilities.
Title: nTIDE Year-to-Year Comparison of Economic Indicators for People with and Without Disabilities
Caption: This graphic compares the economic indicators for August 2020 and August 2021, showing increases for people with and without disabilities.
Method of Research
Subject of Research