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People With Disabilities Left Out of May Job Growth

Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire Release June nTIDE Report - Monthly Update

WEST ORANGE, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 06/06/14 -- The May jobs report reveals that Americans with disabilities continue to be left out of the economy's job growth among mostly positive news for people without disabilities, according to today's National Trends in Disability Employment - Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Efforts are underway to support employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities.

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Jobs Report released Friday, June 6, the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 27.2 percent in May 2013 to 25.8 percent in May 2014 (down 5.1 percent; 1.4 percentage points) for working-age people with disabilities. For people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 70.8 percent in May 2013 to 71.7 percent in May 2014 (up 1.3 percent; 0.9 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).

According to May's jobs data, the percentage of people with disabilities looking for work decreased, from 4.9 percent in May 2013 to 4.2 percent in May 2014 (down 14.3 percent; 0.7 percentage points). This percentage is the number of people looking for work divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100. For people without disabilities, the percentage looking for work also declined from 5.4 percent in May 2013 to 4.5 percent in May 2014 (down 17.3 percent; 0.9 percentage points).

"This morning's report shows mixed results for the overall economy but people with disabilities continue to be left out of the recovery," according to John O'Neill, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation's Director of Employment and Disability Research. "More action needs to be taken to expand employment opportunities for this talented population as they continue the frustrating search for a job."

"For the past two months, fewer people with disabilities are looking for work when compared to last year's corresponding months," according to Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., UNH-IOD Associate Professor of Economics. "Coupled with a slide in the employment-to-population ratio, the employment environment for people with disabilities remains dim while they strive to find work or maintain employment."

Non-profit organizations and businesses, however, are supporting efforts to create or expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including veterans. Organizations, such as the Veteran Staffing Network (VSN) -- a social enterprise employment agency for veterans with and without disabilities -- are working with job seekers with disabilities to identify job skills and interests and matching them with the needs of employers. VSN is an initiative of Easter Seals Greater Washington Baltimore Region.

"In May, we honored our fallen service men and women on Memorial Day and remembered those who are still overseas," said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. "Upon their return home, many face challenges transitioning back to civilian life and finding employment, especially our wounded warriors. As our armed forces have sacrificed so much for us, Kessler Foundation awarded nearly half a million dollars for VSN to expand their reach and serve more individuals. Veterans, wounded warriors, reservists, National Guardsmen and their spouses work with career coaches to overcome barriers to obtain meaningful employment and, in turn, have renewed confidence and the ability to support their families."

In May 2014, among workers ages 16-64, the 3,976,000 workers with disabilities represented 2.9 percent of the total 138,353,000 workers in the U.S.

"The figures in nTIDE 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 nTIDE will be issued on Thursday, July 3, 2014.

NOTE: The statistics in the National Trends in Disability Employment - 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).

nTIDE is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133B130015 & H133B120005), and Kessler Foundation.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for 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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