Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, June 21, 2016                           USDL-16-1248

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


     PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY: LABOR FORCE CHARACTERISTICS -- 2015


In 2015, 17.5 percent of persons with a disability were employed, the U.S. Bureau 
of Labor Statistics reported today. In contrast, the employment-population ratio 
for those without a disability was 65.0 percent. The employment-population ratio 
for persons with a disability edged up in 2015, and the ratio for persons 
without a disability continued to increase. The unemployment rate for persons with 
a disability fell to 10.7 percent in 2015, and the rate for those without 
a disability declined to 5.1 percent.

The data on persons with a disability are collected as part of the Current Population 
Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides statistics 
on employment and unemployment in the United States. The collection of data on persons 
with a disability is sponsored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability 
Employment Policy. For more information, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Highlights from the 2015 data:

 Persons with a disability were about three times as likely as those with no disability 
  to be age 65 and over. (See table 1.)

 For all age groups, the employment-population ratio was much lower for persons with a 
  disability than for those with no disability. (See table 1.)

 Unemployment rates were higher for persons with a disability than for those with no 
  disability among all educational attainment groups. (See table 1.)

 In 2015, 32 percent of workers with a disability were employed part time, compared 
  with 18 percent for those with no disability. (See table 2.)

 Workers with a disability were more likely to be self-employed than those with no 
  disability. (See table 4.)

Demographic characteristics

Persons with a disability tend to be older than persons with no disability, reflecting 
the increased incidence of disability with age. In 2015, 47 percent of persons with a 
disability were age 65 and over, compared with 15 percent of those with no disability. 
Women were somewhat more likely to have a disability than men, and Blacks and Whites 
continued to have a higher prevalence of disability than Hispanics and Asians in 2015. 
(See table 1.)

Employment

The employment-population ratio for persons with a disability, at 17.5 percent, edged 
up in 2015, essentially returning to the 2013 level. The ratio for those with no 
disability increased to 65.0 percent. The lower ratio among persons with a disability 
reflects, in part, the older age profile of persons with a disability; older workers 
are less likely to be employed regardless of disability status. However, across all 
age groups, persons with a disability were much less likely to be employed than those 
with no disability. (See tables A and 1.)

Among persons with a disability age 65 and over, the employment-population ratio, at 
6.7 percent in 2015, was about unchanged from the prior year, while the ratio for 
persons age 16 to 64 rose to 26.9 percent in 2015. For persons without a disability, 
the employment-population ratio increased to 23.1 percent for persons age 65 and
over, and to 72.2 percent for persons age 16 to 64. (See table A.)

Persons with a disability are less likely to have completed a bachelor's degree or 
higher than those with no disability. Among both groups, those who had attained higher 
levels of education were more likely to be employed than those with less education. 
In 2015, across all levels of education, persons with a disability were much less 
likely to be employed than were their counterparts with no disability. (Educational 
attainment data are presented for those age 25 and over.) (See table 1.)

Workers with a disability were more likely to be employed part time than those with no 
disability. Among those with a disability, 32 percent usually worked part time in 2015, 
compared with 18 percent of workers without a disability. The proportion of workers 
who were employed part time for economic reasons was slightly higher among those with 
a disability than among those without a disability (6 percent versus 4 percent). These 
individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because 
they were not able to find a full-time job. (See table 2.)

In 2015, persons with a disability were more heavily concentrated in service occupations 
than those with no disability (21.7 percent compared with 17.2 percent). Workers with a 
disability were somewhat more likely than those with no disability to work in production, 
transportation, and material moving occupations (14.4 percent compared with 11.8 percent). 
Persons with a disability were less likely to work in management, professional, and 
related occupations than those without a disability (31.3 percent compared with 39.2 
percent). (See table 3.)

The proportion of persons employed in federal, state, and local government was about the 
same in 2015 for both persons with a disability and persons without a disability (14.2 
percent and 13.9 percent, respectively). However, a smaller share of workers with a 
disability (75.8 percent) were employed as private wage and salary workers, compared 
with  those with no disability (79.8 percent), and a larger share were self-employed 
than were those with no disability (10.0 percent versus 6.3 percent). (See table 4.)

Unemployment

The unemployment rate for persons with a disability was 10.7 percent in 2015, about 
twice that of those with no disability (5.1 percent). (Unemployed persons are those 
who did not have a job, were available for work, and were actively looking for a job 
in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.) The unemployment rate for persons with a 
disability decreased by 1.8 percentage points in 2015. The rate for persons 
without a disability declined by 0.8 percentage point to 5.1 percent. (See tables A 
and 1.)

Among persons with a disability, the unemployment rates were similar for men and women 
in 2015 (10.6 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively). The rates for both men and women 
declined in 2015. Among the major race and ethnicity groups, the jobless rates for 
Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics were down over the year, while the rate for Asians showed 
little change. As is the case among persons without a disability, the jobless rate for 
those with a disability was higher among Blacks (17.4 percent) and Hispanics (13.3 per-
cent) than among Whites (9.6 percent) and Asians (7.4 percent). (See table 1.)

Not in the labor force

Persons who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force. A large 
proportion of persons with a disability--about 8 in 10--were not in the labor force in 
2015, compared with about 3 in 10 of those with no disability. In part, this too 
reflects the older age profile of persons with a disability; persons age 65 and over 
are much less likely to participate in the labor force than younger age groups. Across 
all age groups, however, persons with a disability were more likely to be out of the 
labor force than those with no disability. (See table 1.)

For both persons with and without a disability, the vast majority of those not in the 
labor force report that they do not want a job. Among those who were not in the labor 
force, 1 percent of persons with a disability and 2 percent of those without a disability 
were marginally attached to the labor force. These individuals wanted and were available 
to work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted 
as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. 
(Persons marginally attached to the labor force include discouraged workers.) (See 
table 5.)



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Last Modified Date: June 21, 2016