Economic News Release

Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics News Release


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, August 25, 2010             USDL-10-1172

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 -- 2009


The proportion of the population employed in 2009--the employment-population 
ratio--was 19.2 percent among those with a disability, the U.S. Bureau of 
Labor Statistics reported today. The employment-population ratio for persons 
without a disability was 64.5 percent. The unemployment rate of persons with 
a disability was 14.5 percent, higher than the rate for those with no disabil-
ity, which was 9.0 percent.

This is the first news release focusing on the employment status of persons 
with a disability. The information in this release was obtained from 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. Beginning in June 2008, questions were added to the CPS that 
were designed to identify persons with a disability in the civilian noninsti-
tutional population age 16 and over, and 2009 is the first calendar year for 
which annual averages are available. The collection of these data is spon-
sored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. 
For more information, see the Technical Note.

Some highlights from the 2009 data are:

   --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.)
    
   --The unemployment rate of persons with a disability was well above the 
     rate of those with no disability. (See table 1.)
    
   --Persons with a disability were over three times as likely as those with 
     no disability to be age 65 or over. (See table 1.)
     
   --Nearly one-third of workers with a disability were employed part time, 
     compared with about one-fifth of those with no disability. (See table 2.)

Demographic characteristics

Persons with a disability tend to be older than persons with no disability, 
reflecting the increased incidence of disability with age. In 2009, almost 
half of persons with a disability were age 65 and over, compared with about 
one-tenth of those with no disability. Women were somewhat more likely to 
have a disability than men, partly reflecting the greater life expectancy 
of women. Among major race and ethnicity groups, the prevalence of a disa-
bility was higher for blacks and whites than for Asians and Hispanics. 
(See table 1.)

Employment

In 2009, the employment-population ratio--the proportion of the population 
that is employed--was 19.2 percent for persons with a disability. Among 
those with no disability, the ratio was much higher (64.5 percent). In part, 
this reflects the older age profile of persons with a disability; older in-
dividuals--regardless of disability status--are less likely to be employed. 
However, across all age groups, persons with a disability were much less 
likely to be employed than those with no disability. (See table 1.)

Persons with a disability who have completed higher levels of education were 
more likely to be employed than those with less education. However, at all 
levels of education, persons with a disability were less than half as likely 
to be employed than were their counterparts with no disability. (Because 
many people have completed their education by age 24, educational attainment 
data are presented for those age 25 and over.) (See table 1.)

Workers with a disability were more likely than those with no disability to 
work part time. Among workers with a disability, 32 percent usually worked 
part time in 2009, compared with 19 percent of workers without a disability. 
A slightly larger proportion of workers with a disability worked part time 
for economic reasons than those with no disability (8 and 6 percent, respect-
ively). These individuals were working part time because their hours had 
been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See 
table 2.)

Workers with a disability were slightly more likely than those with no dis-
ability to work in service occupations (20 percent, compared with 18 percent) 
and in production, transportation, and material moving occupations (14 per-
cent, compared with 11 percent). Those with a disability were less likely to 
work in management, professional, and related occupations (31 percent, com-
pared with 38 percent). (See table 3.)

In 2009, 16 percent of workers with a disability were employed in federal, 
state, and local government, about the same percentage as those with no 
disability (15 percent). Seventy-three percent of workers with a disability 
were employed as private wage and salary workers, compared with 78 percent 
of those with no disability. A larger proportion of workers with a disabil-
ity were self-employed than were those with no disability (11 and 7 percent, 
respectively). (See table 4.)

Unemployment

Individuals with a disability were more likely to be unemployed than were 
those with no disability. The unemployment rate for persons with a dis-
ability was 14.5 percent in 2009, well above the figure of 9.0 percent for 
those with no disability. (Unemployed persons are those who did not have 
a job, were available for work, and were actively looking for a job in 
the past 4 weeks.) (See table 1.)

Among persons with a disability, the jobless rate for men (15.1 percent) 
was slightly higher than the rate for women (13.8 percent). As is the case 
among those without a disability, the unemployment rates in 2009 for those 
with a disability were higher among blacks (22.1 percent) and Hispanics 
(19.0 percent) than among whites (13.3 percent) and Asians (11.6 percent). 
(See table 1.)

Not in the labor force

Persons who are neither employed nor unemployed are referred to as not in 
the labor force. A large proportion of those with a disability--about 8 in 
10--were not in the labor force in 2009, compared with 3 in 10 of those 
with no disability. In part, this reflects the fact that many of those with 
a disability are age 65 and over. However, for all age groups, persons with 
a disability were more likely than those with no disability to be out of 
the labor force.

For persons with and without a disability, the vast majority of those not 
in the labor force reported that they do not want a job. Among those who 
do want a job, a subset is classified as marginally attached to the labor 
force. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were avail-
able for 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. Among persons not in the labor force, 
1 percent of those with a disability were marginally attached to the labor 
force in 2009, compared with 3 percent of those with no disability. (Per-
sons marginally attached to the labor force include discouraged workers.) 
(See table 5.)





Technical Note
   
   
   The estimates in this release are based on annual average data obtained 
from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of 
about 60,000 households that is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

   Questions were added to the CPS in June 2008 to identify persons with 
a disability in the civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and older. 
The addition of these questions allowed the Bureau of Labor Statistics to 
begin releasing monthly labor force data from the CPS for persons with a 
disability. The collection of these data is sponsored by the Department 
of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory-impaired 
individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Ser-
vice: (800) 877-8339.
   
Reliability of the estimates
   
   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsam-
pling error. When a sample, rather than the entire population, is sur-
veyed, there is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the 
"true" population values they represent. The exact difference, or sam-
pling error, varies depending on the particular sample selected, and 
this variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate. 
There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an 
estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard 
errors from the "true" population value because of sampling error. 
BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of con-
fidence.

   The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling
error can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a
segment of the population, inability to obtain information for all
respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents
to provide correct information, and errors made in the collection or
processing of the data.
 
   In addition, unlike other CPS data, the estimates of the population
of persons with a disability are not controlled to independent popula-
tion totals because such data are not currently available. Without con-
trols, estimates are more apt to vary in unpredictable ways from one 
month to the next. Additionally, the labor force estimates for persons 
with disabilities have not been seasonally adjusted due to the fact that 
these data have been collected for a few months only. Typically, several 
years worth of monthly estimates are required before seasonally adjusted 
estimates can be produced.

   A full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and informa-
tion on estimating standard errors is available online at www.bls.gov/cps/
documentation.htm#reliability.
   
Disability questions and concepts
   
   The CPS uses a set of six questions to identify persons with disabili-
ties. In the CPS, persons are classified as having a disability if there 
is a response of "yes" to any of these questions. The disability questions 
appear in the CPS in the following format:

   This month we want to learn about people who have physical, mental, or 
emotional conditions that cause serious difficulty with their daily acti-
vities. Please answer for household members who are 15 years and older.
   
   --Is anyone deaf or does anyone have serious difficulty hearing?

   --Is anyone blind or does anyone have serious difficulty seeing
     even when wearing glasses?
     
   --Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone 
     have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making
     decisions?

   --Does anyone have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?

   --Does anyone have difficulty dressing or bathing?

   --Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone 
     have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's
     office or shopping?
   
   The CPS questions for identifying individuals with disabilities are
only asked of household members who are age 15 and older. Each of the
questions ask the respondent whether anyone in the household has the
condition described, and if the respondent replies "yes," they are then 
asked to identify everyone in the household who has the condition. Labor 
force measures from the CPS are tabulated for persons age 16 and older.
More information on the disability questions and the limitations of the
CPS disability data is available on the BLS Web site at www.bls.gov/cps/
cpsdisability_faq.htm.
   
Other definitions
   
   Other definitions used in this release are described briefly below.
Additional information on the concepts and methodology of the CPS is
available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm.

   Employed persons are all those who, during the survey reference week 
(which is generally the week including the 12th day of the month), (a) 
did any work at all as paid employees; (b) worked in their own business, 
profession, or on their own farm; (c) worked 15 hours or more as unpaid 
workers in a family-operated enterprise; or (d) were temporarily absent 
from their jobs because of illness, vacation, labor dispute, or another 
reason.

   Unemployed persons are all persons who had no employment during the
reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness,
and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4
weeks preceding the survey. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to
a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for
work to be classified as unemployed.

   Civilian labor force comprises all persons classified as employed
or unemployed.

   Unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed persons as a
percent of the civilian labor force.

   Not in the labor force includes all persons who are not classified
as employed or unemployed. Information is collected on their desire
for and availability to take a job at the time of the CPS interview,
job search activity in the prior year, and reason for not looking in
the 4-week period prior to the survey week. This group includes in-
dividuals marginally attached to the labor force, defined as persons
not in the labor force who want and are available for a job and who
have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months (or since the end
of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months). They
are not counted as unemployed because they had not actively searched
for work in the prior 4 weeks. Within the marginally attached group 
are discouraged workers--persons who are not currently looking for 
work because they believe there are no jobs available or there are 
none for which they would qualify. The other persons marginally at-
tached to the labor force group includes persons who want a job but
had not looked for work in the past 4 weeks for reasons such as family
responsibilities or transportation problems.

   At work part time for economic reasons, a measure sometimes referred 
to as involuntary part time, refers to individuals who gave an economic 
reason for working 1 to 34 hours during the reference week. Economic 
reasons include slack work or unfavorable business conditions, inabil-
ity to find full-time work, and seasonal declines in demand. Those who 
usually work part time must also indicate that they want and are avail-
able for full-time work.
   
   Occupation, industry, and class of worker for the employed relate
to the job held in the survey reference week. Persons with two or more
jobs are classified in the job at which they worked the greatest number 
of hours. Persons are classified using the 2002 Census occupational and 
2007 Census industry classification systems. The class-of-worker break-
down assigns workers to the following categories: Private and government
wage and salary workers, self-employed workers, and unpaid family workers. 
Wage and salary workers receive wages, salary, commissions, tips, or pay 
in kind from a private employer or from a government unit. Self-employed 
persons are those who work for profit or fees in their own business, pro-
fession, trade, or farm. Only the unincorporated self-employed are in-
cluded in the self-employed category. Self-employed persons who respond 
that their businesses are incorporated are included among wage and salary 
workers because, in a legal sense, they are paid employees of a corpora-
tion.




Table 1. Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population by disability status and selected characteristics, 2009 annual averages
[Numbers in thousands]
Characteristic Civilian
noninsti-
tutional
population
Civilian labor force Not in
labor
force
Total Participation
rate
Employed Unemployed
Total Percent of
population
Total Rate

TOTAL

Total, 16 years and over

235,801 154,142 65.4 139,877 59.3 14,265 9.3 81,659

Men

114,136 82,123 72.0 73,670 64.5 8,453 10.3 32,013

Women

121,665 72,019 59.2 66,208 54.4 5,811 8.1 49,646

PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY

Total, 16 years and over

26,981 6,050 22.4 5,174 19.2 876 14.5 20,931

Men

12,184 3,221 26.4 2,735 22.4 486 15.1 8,963

Women

14,797 2,829 19.1 2,439 16.5 390 13.8 11,968

Age

16 to 64 years

14,845 5,220 35.2 4,406 29.7 814 15.6 9,625

16 to 19 years

597 173 28.9 107 17.9 66 38.2 424

20 to 24 years

792 376 47.5 279 35.2 97 25.9 416

25 to 34 years

1,646 758 46.1 606 36.8 153 20.1 887

35 to 44 years

2,230 931 41.8 782 35.1 149 16.0 1,298

45 to 54 years

4,182 1,476 35.3 1,278 30.6 198 13.4 2,706

55 to 64 years

5,398 1,505 27.9 1,354 25.1 152 10.1 3,893

65 years and over

12,136 830 6.8 768 6.3 61 7.4 11,306

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

White

22,039 5,066 23.0 4,391 19.9 675 13.3 16,972

Black or African American

3,493 633 18.1 493 14.1 140 22.1 2,861

Asian

621 117 18.9 104 16.7 14 11.6 504

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

2,478 562 22.7 455 18.4 107 19.0 1,915

Educational attainment

Total, 25 years and over

25,591 5,501 21.5 4,788 18.7 712 12.9 20,091

Less than a high school diploma

6,558 705 10.8 574 8.7 132 18.7 5,852

High school graduates, no college(1)

9,160 1,773 19.4 1,535 16.8 238 13.4 7,387

Some college or associate degree

6,174 1,782 28.9 1,542 25.0 240 13.5 4,393

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

3,700 1,241 33.5 1,138 30.8 103 8.3 2,459

PERSONS WITH NO DISABILITY

Total, 16 years and over

208,820 148,092 70.9 134,703 64.5 13,389 9.0 60,728

Men

101,952 78,902 77.4 70,935 69.6 7,967 10.1 23,050

Women

106,868 69,190 64.7 63,769 59.7 5,421 7.8 37,678

Age

16 to 64 years

182,958 142,388 77.8 129,358 70.7 13,029 9.2 40,570

16 to 19 years

16,446 6,217 37.8 4,731 28.8 1,486 23.9 10,229

20 to 24 years

19,732 14,595 74.0 12,485 63.3 2,110 14.5 5,137

25 to 34 years

38,635 32,540 84.2 29,409 76.1 3,131 9.6 6,095

35 to 44 years

38,690 33,307 86.1 30,734 79.4 2,573 7.7 5,382

45 to 54 years

40,183 34,730 86.4 32,335 80.5 2,394 6.9 5,453

55 to 64 years

29,272 21,000 71.7 19,665 67.2 1,335 6.4 8,273

65 years and over

25,862 5,705 22.1 5,345 20.7 359 6.3 20,158

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

White

168,864 120,578 71.4 110,605 65.5 9,972 8.3 48,286

Black or African American

24,748 16,999 68.7 14,532 58.7 2,467 14.5 7,749

Asian

10,220 7,039 68.9 6,531 63.9 508 7.2 3,181

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

30,413 21,790 71.6 19,191 63.1 2,599 11.9 8,623

Educational attainment

Total, 25 years and over

172,642 127,281 73.7 117,488 68.1 9,793 7.7 45,361

Less than a high school diploma

19,571 11,441 58.5 9,797 50.1 1,644 14.4 8,130

High school graduates, no college(1)

52,309 36,413 69.6 32,952 63.0 3,461 9.5 15,896

Some college or associate degree

45,552 35,033 76.9 32,346 71.0 2,687 7.7 10,519

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

55,210 44,393 80.4 42,393 76.8 2,000 4.5 10,816

Footnotes
(1) Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
(2) Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.

NOTE: Estimates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.


Table 2. Employed full- and part-time workers by disability status and age, 2009 annual averages
[Numbers in thousands]
Disability status and age Employed At work
part time for
economic
reasons(1)
Total Usually
work
full time
Usually
work
part time

TOTAL

16 years and over

139,877 112,634 27,244 8,913

16 to 64 years

133,764 109,155 24,609 8,671

65 years and over

6,114 3,479 2,635 241

Persons with a disability

16 years and over

5,174 3,502 1,672 425

16 to 64 years

4,406 3,134 1,271 394

65 years and over

768 368 401 31

Persons with no disability

16 years and over

134,703 109,132 25,572 8,488

16 to 64 years

129,358 106,021 23,337 8,278

65 years and over

5,345 3,111 2,234 210

Footnotes
(1) Refers to persons who, whether they usually work full or part time, worked 1 to 34 hours during the reference week for an economic reason such as slack work or unfavorable business conditions, inability to find full-time work, or seasonal declines in demand. Persons who usually work part time for an economic reason, but worked 35 hours or more during the reference week are excluded. Also excludes employed persons who were absent from their jobs for the entire reference week.

NOTE: Full time refers to persons who usually work 35 hours or more per week; part time refers to persons who usually work less than 35 hours per week.


Table 3. Employed persons by disability status, occupation, and sex, 2009 annual averages
[Percent distribution]
Occupation Persons with a disability Persons with no disability
Total Men Women Total Men Women

Total employed (in thousands)

5,174 2,735 2,439 134,703 70,935 63,769

Occupation as a percent of total employed

Management, professional, and related occupations

30.5 28.5 32.7 37.6 34.7 40.8

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

13.3 15.0 11.5 15.5 16.8 14.0

Management occupations

9.8 12.3 7.1 11.1 13.2 8.8

Business and financial operations occupations

3.5 2.7 4.4 4.4 3.6 5.2

Professional and related occupations

17.1 13.5 21.2 22.1 17.9 26.8

Computer and mathematical occupations

1.6 2.4 0.8 2.5 3.6 1.3

Architecture and engineering occupations

1.3 2.2 0.4 2.0 3.2 0.6

Life, physical, and social science occupations

0.6 0.6 0.6 1.0 1.0 1.0

Community and social services occupations

1.9 1.4 2.5 1.7 1.2 2.2

Legal occupations

0.9 0.9 0.9 1.2 1.2 1.3

Education, training, and library occupations

5.3 2.7 8.2 6.2 3.0 9.7

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations

1.6 1.6 1.5 2.0 2.0 1.9

Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations

3.8 1.7 6.3 5.6 2.7 8.8

Service occupations

20.3 16.8 24.3 17.5 14.2 21.1

Healthcare support occupations

2.6 0.7 4.9 2.4 0.5 4.5

Protective service occupations

2.0 3.1 0.8 2.3 3.3 1.1

Food preparation and serving related occupations

5.5 4.3 6.8 5.5 4.7 6.5

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations

5.8 7.0 4.6 3.7 4.2 3.2

Personal care and service occupations

4.4 1.8 7.3 3.6 1.5 5.9

Sales and office occupations

25.5 17.4 34.6 24.1 16.9 32.1

Sales and related occupations

11.3 10.4 12.3 11.2 10.7 11.7

Office and administrative support occupations

14.2 7.0 22.3 12.9 6.2 20.4

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

9.2 16.6 0.9 9.5 17.3 0.9

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

0.7 1.2 0.3 0.7 1.0 0.3

Construction and extraction occupations

4.9 8.8 0.5 5.3 9.9 0.3

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

3.6 6.7 0.2 3.5 6.4 0.3

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

14.4 20.6 7.4 11.3 16.9 5.1

Production occupations

7.6 10.1 4.7 5.4 7.4 3.2

Transportation and material moving occupations

6.9 10.6 2.7 5.9 9.5 1.9

Table 4. Employed persons by disability status, industry, class of worker, and sex, 2009 annual averages
[Percent distribution]
Industry and class of worker Persons with a disability Persons with no disability
Total Men Women Total Men Women

Total employed (in thousands)

5,174 2,735 2,439 134,703 70,935 63,769

Industry as a percent of total employed

Agriculture and related industries

2.7 4.0 1.2 1.5 2.1 0.7

Nonagricultural industries

97.3 96.0 98.8 98.5 97.9 99.3

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

0.5 0.7 0.3 0.5 0.8 0.1

Construction

6.4 10.6 1.6 7.0 12.0 1.4

Manufacturing

10.0 13.8 5.7 10.2 13.8 6.2

Wholesale trade

2.4 3.1 1.7 2.7 3.7 1.7

Retail trade

12.9 12.4 13.5 11.3 10.9 11.7

Transportation and utilities

5.0 6.7 3.0 5.2 7.6 2.5

Information

2.1 2.5 1.6 2.3 2.6 2.1

Financial activities

5.8 5.3 6.3 6.9 6.0 7.9

Professional and business services

9.9 10.5 9.2 10.8 11.9 9.5

Education and health services

22.7 11.7 35.1 22.7 10.7 36.2

Leisure and hospitality

9.1 8.3 10.0 9.1 8.4 9.9

Other services

5.5 5.3 5.7 4.9 4.5 5.4

Public administration

5.1 5.1 5.1 4.9 5.1 4.7

Class of worker as a percent of total employed(1)

Wage and salary workers

88.8 86.6 91.3 93.1 91.8 94.5

Private industries

73.0 73.6 72.3 77.9 79.6 76.1

Government

15.8 12.9 19.0 15.2 12.3 18.4

Federal

2.9 3.2 2.7 2.6 2.7 2.4

State

5.3 3.8 6.9 4.5 3.5 5.6

Local

7.5 5.9 9.4 8.1 6.1 10.4

Self-employed workers

11.1 13.3 8.6 6.9 8.1 5.5

Footnotes
(1) Includes a small number of unpaid family workers, not shown separately.

NOTE: The self-employed refer to the unincorporated self-employed. Self-employed persons whose businesses are incorporated are classified as wage and salary workers.


Table 5. Persons not in the labor force by disability status, age, and sex, 2009 annual averages
[Numbers in thousands]
Category Total,
16 years and
over
16 to 64 years Total,
65 years and
over
Total Men Women

PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY

Total not in the labor force

20,931 9,625 4,489 5,136 11,306

Persons who currently want a job

620 459 220 239 161

Marginally attached to the labor force(1)

193 166 87 79 27

Discouraged workers(2)

60 50 29 20 10

Other persons marginally attached to the labor force(3)

133 116 58 58 17

PERSONS WITH NO DISABILITY

Total not in the labor force

60,728 40,570 14,707 25,863 20,158

Persons who currently want a job

5,273 4,821 2,270 2,550 453

Marginally attached to the labor force(1)

2,034 1,927 1,027 900 107

Discouraged workers(2)

718 673 426 247 45

Other persons marginally attached to the labor force(3)

1,315 1,254 601 653 62

Footnotes
(1) Data refer to persons who want a job, have searched for work during the prior 12 months, and were available to take a job during the reference week, but had not looked for work in the past 4 weeks.
(2) Includes those who did not actively look for work in the prior 4 weeks for reasons such as thinks no work available, could not find work, lacks schooling or training, employer thinks too young or old, and other types of discrimination.
(3) Includes those who did not actively look for work in the prior 4 weeks for such reasons as school or family responsibilities, ill health, and transportation problems, as well as a number for whom reason for nonparticipation was not determined.


Last Modified Date: August 25, 2010
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