Disability unemployment rate on the rise

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities jumped to 14.2 percent in June, far exceeding the overall national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

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However, this figure does not take into account individuals whom are considered no longer looking for working, meaning they have been looking for a job for longer than 12 months, such as those receiving long-term employment benefits through programs like Social Security Disability Insurance.

Since people with disabilities are vastly overrepresented in this latter category, along with myriad other factors, the overall labor force participation rate for people with disabilities is just 20.6 percent. In comparison, the participation rate is 69.1 percent for people without disabilities, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities has spiked considerably during the past two months, from 12.9 to 13.6 percent to the current figure. Since, the rate has also increased as more people with disabilities have left the workforce, it is unclear if the change represents a significant change in the employment climate for people with disabilities.

The National Governor’s Association has made increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities its prime initiative for 2013.

For more background on employment challenges affecting people with disabilities, a video from Michael Bailey, president of the National Disability Rights Network, can be seen here.