nTIDE March 2023 Jobs Report: People with Disabilities Maintain Record Labor Force Participation Rate, Outperforming People Without Disabilities

National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) – Issued semi-monthly by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire

East Hanover, NJ – April 7, 2023 – People with disabilities maintained their record labor force participation rate in March, continuing to outperform people without disabilities, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – semi-monthly update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Year-to-year, people with and without disabilities showed gains in employment, reflecting the economy’s ongoing recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Year-to-Year nTIDE Numbers (comparing March 2022 to March 2023)
Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Report released today, the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities (ages 16-64) increased from 37.8 percent in March 2022 to 40.2 percent in March 2023 (up 6.3 percent or 2.4 percentage points). For people without disabilities (ages 16-64), the labor force participation rate also increased from 77.2 percent in March 2022 to 77.6 percent in March 2023 (up 0.5 percent or 0.4 percentage points). The labor force participation rate reflects the percentage of people who are in the labor force (working, on temporary layoff, on furlough, or actively looking for work in the last four weeks) relative to the total population (the number of people in the labor force divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).

 

nTIDE Year-to-Year Comparison of Labor Market Indicators for People with and without Disabilities
Bar graph chart showing labor force disability employment
This graphic compares the labor market indicators for March 2022 and March 2023, showing increases for
people with and without disabilities.
 

 

“The labor force participation rate was unchanged from last month, 40.2 percent in February 2023 and March 2023, showing that over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, people with disabilities remained in the labor force, and continue to outperform people without disabilities,” remarked Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics and research director of the UNH-IOD. “Several factors may be driving the increased participation of people with disabilities, including an increase in job opportunities and the pressing need to work as families face inflationary prices,” he added.

With regard to employment, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities (ages 16-64) increased from 34.1 percent in March 2022 to 36.6 percent in March 2023 (up 7.3 percent or 2.5 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities (ages 16-64), the employment-to-population ratio also increased from 74.5 percent in March 2022 to 74.9 percent in March 2023 (up 0.5 percent or 0.4 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).

“We saw a year-to-year improvement in the employment-to-population ratio for both people with and without disabilities from March 2022 to this year,” said John O’Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Research at Kessler Foundation. “This probably reflects the emergence of the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.  

Month-to-Month nTIDE Numbers (comparing February 2023 to March 2023)
Compared to last month, the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities (ages 16-64) remained unchanged from February 2023 to March 2023 at 40.2 percent. For people without disabilities (ages 16-64), the labor force participation rate increased slightly from 77.3 percent in February 2023 to 77.6 percent in March 2023 (up 0.4 percent or 0.3 percentage points).

 

nTIDE Month-to-Month Comparison of Labor Market Indicators for People with and without Disabilities
Bar graph chart showing labor force disability employment month to month 2023
This graphic compares the labor market indicators for February 2023 and March 2023, showing a flat labor force
participation rate for people with disabilities and a slight increase for people without disabilities.
The employment-to-population ratio decreased slightly for people with disabilities and increased for
people without disabilities.
        

 

Regarding employment, the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities (ages 16-64) decreased slightly from 36.9 percent in February 2023 to 36.6 percent in March 2023 (down 0.8 percent or 0.3 percentage points). For people without disabilities (ages 16-64), the employment-to-population ratio increased from 74.4 percent in February 2023 to 74.9 percent in March 2023 (up 0.7 percent or 0.5 percentage points).

In March, among workers ages 16-64, the 5,997,000 workers with disabilities represented 4.0 percent of the total 149,952,000 workers in the U.S.

Ask Questions about Disability and Employment
Each nTIDE release is followed by an nTIDE Lunch & Learn online webinar. This live broadcast, hosted via Zoom Webinar, offers attendees Q&A on the latest nTIDE findings, provides news and updates from the field, and features invited panelists who discuss current disability-related findings and events.

On April 7, 2023, at 12:00 pm Eastern, Jennifer Croft, Program Manager for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, joins Drs. O’Neill and Houtenville, and Denise Rozell from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Join our free Lunch & Learn live or visit the nTIDE archives at: ResearchonDisability.org/nTIDE.

NOTE: The statistics in the nTIDE are based on BLS numbers but are not identical. They are customized by UNH to combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16- 64). nTIDE is funded by Kessler Foundation and was initially funded by grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) (90RT5037).

About the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire
The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1987 to provide a 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 Intitute’s NIDILRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC), visit ResearchOnDisability.org

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research. Our scientists seek to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes, including employment, for adults and children with neurological and developmental disabilities of the brain and spinal cord including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and autism. Kessler Foundation also leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. We help people regain independence to lead full and productive lives.

For more information, contact:
Deb Hauss, [email protected]
Carolann Murphy, [email protected]

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