People with Disabilities at Work and Play
With the 2012 Summer Olympics over and its 10,500 competitors back home, the Paralympic Games got under way Aug. 29. Taking part will be 4,200 athletes with a disability—40 percent of the number of athletes in the Olympic Games.
How does this level of participation stack up against the level of employment for people with a disability in this country? Recent data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show among the working age people in the U.S. with a disability*, close to 32 percent participate in the workforce—either by being employed or seeking work. Among people without a disability, about 77 percent participate. While far from an apples-to-apples comparison, that's a difference in participation rate of about 45 percent.
The first chart below illustrates that the percentage of people without a disability who work is much higher than the percentage of people with a disability who work. The surprising difference is between the sexes. While the participation rate for men is higher than women both with and without a disability, it is much smaller for women with a disability.
The second chart shows that, among people who participate in the workforce, the unemployment situation is far worse for people with a disability. Since the Current Population Survey began collecting data to identify persons with a disability, it has been clear that the unemployment rate among people with a disability runs much higher—at times almost twice as high—than that of persons without a disability. The unemployment rate is also much more volatile, with larger peaks and deeper troughs.
Workforce Management, September 2012, p. 18 Subscribe Now!