nTIDE May 2022 COVID Update: Uncertainty about inflation tempers good news for people with disabilities

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

East Hanover, NJ. June 27, 2022. Unemployment declined again in May for people with disabilities, while people without disabilities saw a slight increase, according to Friday’s National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) COVID Update. The May data should be interpreted with caution in light of ongoing actions by the Federal Reserve to curb inflation, noted  nTIDE expert Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics at the University of Hampshire (UNH) and research director of the UNH Institute on Disability.


graphic bars reports on employment during covid
These graphics compare the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic on people with and without disabilities, capturing pre-pandemic and current unemployment data from January

2020 to May 2022. May numbers showed a slight decline in unemployment for people with disabilities, and a slight increase in unemployment for people without disabilities.


“This month’s job data are positive for people with disabilities, but we would need to see months of sustained declines in unemployment in order to reach pre-pandemic levels,” said Dr. Houtenville. “Counter inflationary measures are likely to dampen hiring,” he cautioned, “but the effects will take time to percolate through the labor market. The uptick in unemployment among people without disabilities could be an early sign of recessionary reactions,” he added, “and we will be watching this closely.”

Jobseekers entering the labor market for the first time will feel the brunt of any slowdown in hiring. “Given the current relatively stable employment picture, people intending to enter the workforce should intensify their efforts now while opportunities abound and hiring remains strong,” advised Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, senior vice president of Grants and Communications at Kessler Foundation.

Field Notes − News from Job Path NYC

Economic recovery continues in New York City, but the evolving job market is affecting placements by  Job Path NYC, a nonprofit that provides customized employment services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. nTIDE co-author John O’Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Employment Research at Kessler Foundation, shared his perspective as a board member of Job Path NYC. “Customized back-office jobs like mailroom, shredding, and filing are becoming increasingly automated and some jobs are being eliminated,” reported Dr. O’Neill. Downsizing is also affecting some workers who were employed at schools. “Hopefully, some of these jobs may come back in the fall,” he added.

Theaters, retail, and food services are the bright spots, according to Dr. O’Neill. “Demand continues to rise in these sectors, providing opportunities for less skilled individuals, and the potential for hiring to continue into the fall.”     

For in-depth analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment trends, see our recent nTIDE Special Edition: Workers with disabilities overcome pandemic setbacks, outpacing people without disabilities to set new records for employment.

Upcoming nTIDE webinars are scheduled for July 8 and July 22.

Each nTIDE release is followed by a Lunch & Learn webinar at 12:00 pm ET, featuring nTIDE experts Andrew Houtenville, PhD, and John O’Neill, PhD. You may register for upcoming webinars, and view the nTIDE archives here:  nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar Series | Center for Research on Disability

About nTIDE Updates

National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE), is a joint project of Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability, co-authored by Andrew Houtenville, PhD, from the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability and John O'Neill, PhD, of Kessler Foundation. The nTIDE team closely monitors the job numbers, issuing semi-monthly nTIDE reports, as the labor market continues to reflect the many challenges of the pandemic. Since 2013, a monthly nTIDE has been issued in conjunction with the first Friday Jobs Report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In April of 2020, restrictions on economic activity in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated an unprecedented rise in furloughs and people looking for work, prompting the addition of this mid-month nTIDE COVID Update. The mid-month nTIDE follows two key unemployment indicators – furloughs, or temporary layoffs, and the number of people looking for work, comparing trends for people with and without disabilities.

Funding: Kessler Foundation and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) (90RT5037)

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. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

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.

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

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