Disabled workers overcome pandemic setbacks, overtaking non-disabled people to set new employment records
Experts examine the stark contrasts in recovery between people with and without disabilities in the 2019-2021 special edition of the National Employment Trends for People with Disabilities (nTIDE)
EAST OF HANNOVER, NJ, March 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In early 2022, as the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic began to abate and public health efforts continued, experts reflected on the impact of the pandemic on the employment in the United States. This special edition of National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) presents data from 2019 to 2021 for people with and without disabilities, showing stark contrasts in their progress compared to 2019 pre-pandemic employment levels, the impact 2020 lockdowns, followed by the start of recovery in 2021.
“Despite the disruption of the pandemic, people with disabilities have remained engaged in the workforce.”
Data shows that people with disabilities have not only recovered from the setbacks of the 2020 lockdowns, but have also surpassed pre-pandemic employment levels to reach new all-time highs. This contrasts with their non-disabled counterparts who have yet to reach their pre-pandemic employment levels.
As the top chart shows, in 2019 and 2020 the labor force participation rate remained the same for people with disabilities (33.6%), rising to 35.1% in 2021. the pandemic, people with disabilities remained engaged in the workforce, meaning they were working, on leave, or looking for work,” the nTIDE co-author explained. André HoutenvillePhD, Professor of Economics and Research Director at University of New Hampshire Disability Institute. In 2021, participation surpassed pre-pandemic levels to 35.1%, surpassing the all-time high reached in 2008 at the start of the Great Recession. “This may be a sign that people with disabilities are taking advantage of new job opportunities in a tight labor market,” Dr Houtenville added. “Neediness may also be a factor in sustained participation, as workers with disabilities may be less able to give up their income.”
For people without disabilities, the participation rate fell from 77.3% in 2019 to 76.1% in 2020, dropping to 76.5% in 2021, still well below pre-pandemic levels. “They are slowly coming back into the workforce,” Dr. Houtenville noted, “and have yet to regain the ground they lost in 2020.”
In the bottom chart, comparing employment to population ratios tells a similar story of resilience. In 2019, the employment-to-population ratio was 30.9% for persons with disabilities, dropping to 29.1% in 2020, then surpassing pre-pandemic levels, rising to 31.3% in 2021. times, people with disabilities have not only recovered, but have also surpassed their pre-pandemic levels, approaching historic highs. In contrast, the employment-to-population ratio of people without disabilities fell from 74.6% in 2019 to 70.0% in 2020, falling to just 72.5% in 2021.
These stark contrasts are fascinating findings, says nTIDE co-author John O’Neill, PhD, Director of the Center for Research on Employment and Disability of the Kessler Foundation. “It is truly a story of courage. Overall, despite the stresses of the pandemic, people with disabilities have remained in the workforce, a trend we hope will see continue as the pandemic evolves,” said he pointed out. “It is also crucial that we ensure that the hard-won gains of workers with disabilities are sustainable, as people without disabilities continue to re-enter the workforce. This will require concerted efforts from advocates, workers, employers, vocational rehabilitation professionals and other stakeholders.”
Drs. Houtenville and O’Neill discuss how people with disabilities are dealing with the impact of the pandemic on jobs in this podcast from 2022:
Stream 2021 nTIDE Year In Review – A Story Of True Grit by Kessler Foundation | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
The next versions of nTIDE are planned for March 4 and March 18.
National Employment Trends for Persons with Disabilities (nTIDE) reports are published bi-monthly by the Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire Disability Institute. These custom reports are based on data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each release of nTIDE is followed by an nTIDE Lunch & Learn webinar. This live stream, hosted via Zoom Webinar, offers attendees Q&As on the latest nTIDE findings, provides news and updates from the field, as well as guest panelists to discuss related findings and current events. to disability. Join us live or visit the archives at: ResearchonDisability.org/nTIDE.
NOTE: nTIDE statistics are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics figures but are not identical. They are adapted by the UNH to combine statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64). nTIDE is funded, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) (90RT5037) and the Kessler Foundation.
About the Kessler Foundation
The Kessler Foundation, a leading disability nonprofit, is a world leader in rehabilitation research that aims to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes – including employment – for people with disabilities. people with neurological disorders caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. The Kessler Foundation is the national leader in funding innovative programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.
About the Disability Institute of the University of New Hampshire
The Institute on Disability (IOD) of University of New Hampshire (UNH) was established in 1987 to provide cohesive academic direction for improving knowledge, policy, and practice related to the lives of people with disabilities and their families. For more information about the NIDILRR-funded Center for Research and Training in Rehabilitation and Employment Policy, visit ResearchOnDisability.org.
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