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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases 2020 Labor Force Statistics for Workers with Disabilities

2021 March 3
by Mary Dale Walters

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirmed the outsized impact the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to control it had on workers with disabilities in 2020. In 2020, 29% of people with disabilities between age 16 and 64 were employed, slightly down from 30.9% in 2019. The unemployment rate for this same group was 13.4% in 2020 or a 5.4% increase over 2019. The data were collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households that provides statistics about employment and unemployment.

When comparing people with disabilities to those without, the results were comparable, regardless of the raw numbers. For persons without a disability, 61.8 percent were employed in 2020, down from 66.3 % in the prior year. The unemployment rate for this group was 7.9%, a 4.4% increase over 2019.

The 2020 survey revealed some noteworthy highlights about people with disabilities ages 16 to 64:

  • Only 29% of people with disabilities (from the total civilian noninstitutional population[1]) were employed, while 70% of people without disabilities were employed in 2020.
  • 25% of workers with disabilities were employed part-time, compared to 15% of workers without disabilities.
  • Of the total number of people with a disability who are not in the labor force, 41% are between ages 16-64. Further, 5% of those with a disability in this age range currently want a job. This breaks down almost evenly between men and women, with men taking a slight edge.

The BLS data shed light on several areas across all ages for both people with and without disabilities.

  • Overall, women were somewhat more likely to have a disability than men; the prevalence of disability remained higher for Blacks and Whites than for Hispanics and Asians.
  • Across all levels of education, persons with a disability were much less likely to be employed than were their corresponding counterparts without a disability.
  • Persons with a disability were more likely to work in service occupations, including healthcare support, protective services or building and grounds maintenance than those without a disability. However, persons with a disability were less likely to work in management, professional and related occupations.
  • Among persons with a disability, the jobless rates for Hispanics, Blacks and Asians were higher than the rate for Whites.

For more information: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/disabl.pdf


[1] People 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 states and District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions or on active duty in the Armed Forces

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