Hiring Increase Does Not Lower Unemployment Rate for the Disabled

Today’s jobs report was met with mixed reviews. Indeed, hiring in February was better than expected, but it was not enough to temper fears about the uptick in the unemployment rate. The U.S. Labor Department reported that the national economy added 175,000 jobs last month. The number exceeded what analysts had expected, but it was not enough to spark excitement about the direction the economy was headed.

According to a CNN report, the construction industry added 15,000 new jobs, health services added 33,000 jobs, and restaurants and other hospitality outlets added 20,100 jobs. The professional services industry, which includes accountants and tech industry workers, added 79,100 jobs. Even with these promising numbers, hiring for those with disabilities was not so.

In fact, the unemployment rate for disabled Americans grew to 14.3 percent in February, which was higher than the same rate in January, which was 13.3 percent. Even more troubling, the increase came as a greater number of disabled people entered the work force. Nevertheless, the trend was similar to general unemployment rate, which increased to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent.

We continually follow this report because it helps employers understand that candidates with disabilities can be good workers despite their challenges, and it shows how many employers have not embraced the idea of having a disabled person in their employ. It also is important given how many employed and disabled people are eligible for Social Security benefits if they work a certain number of hours.

With the weather getting better, it is expected that hiring will increase in March.

Source: DisabilityScoop.com, “Despite hiring uptick, more with disabilities jobless,” Shaun Heasley, Mar. 7, 2014