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Data Corner for February 2023

RespectAbility has long emphasized the importance of basing our inclusion practices and decision on hard data. We always have provided this data in press releases and trainings, and upon request. This new data corner feature is designed to supplement these other sources and share the raw data directly with you. We are starting simply in this first month, providing you with basic disability employment information as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Please feel free to share other data that you would like to receive. While we will be updating this information monthly, you can always find current data, and much more, at

Employment And Labor Force Status of People With Disabilities, Not Seasonally Adjusted

Jan. 2022 Jan. 2023
Participation rate 22.8 24.1
Employment-population ratio 20.7 22.4
Unemployment rate 9.1 7.1

Employment And Labor Force Status of People Without Disabilities, Not Seasonally Adjusted

Jan. 2022 Jan. 2023
Participation rate 67.2 67.4
Employment-population ratio 64.4 64.9
Unemployment rate 4.2 3.7

As you can see, the above data is certainly encouraging. The workforce participation rate of people with disabilities, meaning people who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work, has gone up by almost 1.5% year over year. The unemployment rate, meaning the number of those individuals without a job, has dropped by 2%, nearly a 25% decrease. On the one hand, it is heartening to see improvement like this, which is orders of magnitude better than the non-disabled rates. On the other hand, unemployment for people with disabilities remains almost twice as high as for the general public, while labor force participation is only a little more than a third as high. There is plenty of work to do.

More Information on The Data

The data is based upon the Current Population Survey. The CPS provides information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment based upon a sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The data for a given month relate to a particular week or pay period. The reference period is generally the calendar week that contains the 12th day of the month.

The sample is selected to reflect the entire civilian noninstitutional population. Based on responses to a series of questions on work and job search activities, each person 16 years and over in a sample household is classified as employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force.

People are classified as employed if they did any work at all as paid employees during the reference week; worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm; or worked without pay at least 15 hours in a family business or farm. People are also counted as employed if they were temporarily absent from their jobs because of illness, bad weather, vacation, labor-management disputes, or personal reasons. People are classified as unemployed if they meet all of the following criteria: they had no employment during the reference week; they were available for work at that time; and they made specific active efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons laid off from a job and expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed. The unemployment data derived from the household survey in no way depend upon the eligibility for or receipt of unemployment insurance benefits.

Meet the Author

Wally Tablit

Wally Tablit (He/Him/His) is the Director of State Policy for RespectAbility.

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