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December Employment Numbers Continue Last Month's Downward Slide for People With Disabilities

Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire Release December TIDE Report - National Update

WEST ORANGE, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 01/10/14 -- Fewer people with disabilities were working in December 2013 than the same month in 2012 -- essentially mirroring November 2012's employment figures for people with disabilities and in contrast to the relatively positive employment figures for people without disabilities. This according to today's Trends in Disability Employment - National Monthly Update (TIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD).

In Bureau of Labor Statistics' "first-Friday" data released Friday, January 10, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 27.4 percent in December 2012 to 25.2 percent in December 2013 (down 8.0 percent; 2.2 percentage point) for working-age people with disabilities. "This morning's news about the employment outlook of the country was relatively positive, although less than expected," according to John O'Neill, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation's Director of Employment and Disability Research. "However, when looking at the employment of people with disabilities, a lesser proportion of people with disabilities are working. Last month's TIDE Update, issued on December 6, 2013, showed the same discouraging results, continuing the sharp contrast between people with disabilities and everyone else."

For people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 70.6 percent in December 2012 and 70.9 percent in December 2013 (up 0.4 percent; 0.3 percentage points). 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).

In addition, the labor force participation rate decreased for people with disabilities, from 31.4 percent in December 2012 to 29.1 percent in December 2013 (down 7.3 percent; 2.3 percentage points). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of people who are working or actively looking for work (the number of people working or looking for work divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100). "As with last month, fewer people with disabilities are engaged in the labor force, which is discouraging and suggests that people with disabilities are not participating in the country's recovery from the recession," according to Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., UNH-IOD Associate Professor of Economics. For people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate also declined from 76.4 percent in December 2012 and 75.7 percent in December 2013 (down 0.9 percent; 0.7 percentage points).

"These numbers are not seasonally adjusted," noted Dr. O'Neill. "The collection of disability employment statistics began a few years ago, and it will take some time for seasonal trends to become evident."

The next Trends in Disability Employment - National Update will be issued on Friday, February 7, 2014.

NOTE: The statistics in the Trends in Disability Employment - National Update are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, but are NOT identical. They have been customized by the University of New Hampshire to efficiently combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64).

Trends in Disability Employment - National Update is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133B120006), and Kessler Foundation.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability research and employment, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition and mobility for people with multiple sclerosis, brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, and other disabling conditions. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for job training and 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 NIDRR-funded Employment Policy and Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, visit http://www.ResearchonDisability.org.

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