National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) – issued semi-monthly by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire
East Hanover, NJ – February 4, 2022 – January job numbers showed gains for people with disabilities, who continue to surpass their pre-pandemic levels of employment 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). Despite concerns about January’s omicron surge, people with disabilities start the new year on a positive note, unlike people without disabilities, whose numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels.
Month-to-Month nTIDE Numbers (December 2021-January 2022 comparison)
In the BLS Jobs Report released Friday, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased slightly from 33.6 percent in December 2021 to 33.8 percent in January 2022 (up 0.6 percent or 0.2 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 73.9 percent in December 2021 to 73.1 percent in January 2022 (down 1.1 percent or 0.8 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).
January’s rise in the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities extends this upward trend to five record-breaking months,” said John O'Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Research at Kessler Foundation. “Exceeding their historic highs reached in October 2008, they appear to be taking advantage of the large number of job openings, as employers tap traditionally undervalued members of the pool of willing workers.”
The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 36.7 percent in December 2020 to 37.5 percent in January 2022 (up 2.2 percent or 0.8 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate also decreased slightly from 76.6 percent in December 2021 to 76.4 percent in January 2022 (down 0.3 percent or 0.2 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.
“As we have seen throughout the pandemic, people with disabilities continued to engage in the labor market, increasing their labor force participation,” remarked Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics and the research director of the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability. “Seeing this trend extend into January bodes well for the prospects of people with disabilities striving to work in the New Year.”
Year-to-Year nTIDE Numbers (comparison to January 2021)
The employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 28.7 percent in January 2021 to 33.8 percent in January 2022 (up 17.8 percent or 5.1 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio also increased from 70.5 percent in January 2021 to 73.1 percent in January 2022 (up 3.7 percent or 2.6 percentage points).
The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities increased from 32.8 percent in January 2021 to 37.5 percent in January 2022 (up 14.3 percent or 4.7 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate also increased slightly from 75.5 percent in January 2021 to 76.4 percent in January 2022 (up 1.2 percent or 0.9 percentage points).
In January 2022, among workers ages 16-64, the 5,439,000 workers with disabilities represented 3.7 percent of the total 145,345,000 workers in the U.S.
Ask Questions about Disability and Employment
Each nTIDE release is followed by a 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 February 4, at 12:00 pm Eastern, Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), US Department of Labor, and Yonatan Ben-Shalom, principal researcher at Mathematica, join Drs. Houtenville and O’Neill, and Denise Rozell, Policy Strategist at AUCD. Join live or visit the archives at: ResearchonDisability.org/nTIDE.
nTIDE COVID Update
Join us on February 18 for the mid-month COVID update - an in-depth comparison of the latest unemployment numbers for people with and without disabilities. Register at: COVID-19 Updates - 2022 | Center for Research on Disability
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.
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.