A release from RespectAbility:
New statistics show that job gains among Americans with disabilities have dramatically fallen compared to previous years of sustain growth. The Disability Statistics Compendium, released earlier this month by the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire, shows that the national disability employment rate has only risen to 37.6 percent compared to 37 percent last year.
Out of the more than 20 million working age (18-64) people with disabilities, only 7.6 million have jobs. There remains a serious gap in the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) between people with and without disabilities. In 2018, 37.6 percent of U.S. civilians with disabilities ages 18-64 living in the community had a job, compared to 77.2 percent for people without disabilities. That means there is a stunning 40-point gap in employment outcomes between people with and without disabilities. Even as other minority groups are entering the workforce in larger and larger numbers, people with disabilities are being left behind.
The nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility compared this year’s Compendium to previous years. What they found is that nationwide, there were only 29,893 new jobs for people with disabilities in 2018. This is a precipitous drop from the previous year’s increase of more than 111,000 new jobs and a ten-fold decrease compared to the 343,000 new jobs experienced by people with disabilities in 2016.
“The disability community needs to take a hard look to better understand the catastrophic results we are seeing in the job numbers,” said Philip Kahn-Pauli, policy and practices director of RespectAbility. “When you look across the intersection of disability and race, you find even bigger gaps in outcomes.”
Disability issues are poised to get greater national attention as the year gets closer and close to the presidential election in November. Research conducted in the 2018 election shows that 74 percent of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities.
To earn those votes, many of the Democratic presidential candidates have brought special attention to disability issues by public releasing comprehensive disability plans and speaking publicly about what they would do if elected. You can read more about those plans and see which candidates have made disability part of their platforms here: https://therespectabilityreport.org/2020/01/22/2020-disability-voter-guide.
For a more comprehensive break down of key statistics on disability employment, education and demographics, please visit RespectAbility’s website here: https://www.respectability.org/statistics.
Lauren Appelbaum, Vice President, Communications
LaurenA@RespectAbility.org | 202-517-6272