The year 2022 was a remarkable and historic time for the employment of people with disabilities. That’s according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) 2022 Year-End Special Edition, issued by East Hanover-based Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD), based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Reports.
Employment trends in 2022 built upon the 2021 recovery from the pandemic recession—where people with disabilities reached beyond pre-COVID-19 levels and even pre-Great Recession levels. These trends are in stark contrast to those of their working counterparts without disabilities who have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels.
The average monthly employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities (ages 16-64) increased from 31.3% in 2021 to 34.8% in 2022, which was also higher than the 29.1% recorded in 2020 (during the height of the pandemic) and 30.9% recorded in 2019 (prior to the pandemic).
In contrast, for people without disabilities (ages 16-64), the employment-to-population ratio increased from 72.5% in 2021 to 74.4% in 2022, which was higher than the 70.0% recorded in 2020, but not above the 74.6$ in 2019. 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).
“Labor shortages across the country meant that there was a disproportionate demand for workers compared to the number of people willing to fill positions. Hiring managers may have needed to break outside of their comfort zones to consider different segments of workers,” said nTIDE co-author John O’Neill, PhD, director, Center for Employment and Disability Research, Kessler Foundation. “This likely led to a boon for people with disabilities looking for jobs and becoming employed,” he added.
Findings were similar for 2022’s labor force participation rate. For people with disabilities (ages 16-64), the labor force participation rate increased from 35.1% in 2021 to 37.8% in 2022, which was also higher than the 33.6% posted in 2019 and 2020 when people with disabilities remained in the labor force during the height of the pandemic.
For people without disabilities (ages 16-64), the labor force participation rate increased slightly from 76.5% in 2021 to 77.1% in 2022, levels above the 76.1% posted during the height of the pandemic but not above the pre-pandemic 77.3% posted in 2019. The labor force participation rate, another key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working, looking for work, or on temporary layoff relative to the total population (the number of people participating in the labor force divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).
“People with disabilities are not participating in the Great Resignation, unlike their counterparts without disabilities. In fact, people with disabilities never left the labor force during the pandemic,” explained nTIDE co-author Andrew Houtenville, PhD, professor of economics and research director at the UNH-IOD. “The increase in work-from-home arrangements and greater flexibility in work hours seen during the height of the pandemic may have permanently opened new employment opportunities for people with disabilities,” added Dr. Houtenville.
Hiring and recruiting people with disabilities was more important to supervisors and upper management in 2022, and more organizations had established hiring goals than in 2017. “Today, more companies are partnering with disability organizations in their recruitment efforts,” said Dr. O’Neill, PhD, adding, “And more are using outside assistance for onboarding workers with disabilities. We also see more employers adopting training on disability issues and cultural competence in 2022 and reaching out to government and local resources regarding the provision of accommodations.”
To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.Related Articles: