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October 10, 2012

(Un)Employment in America: Disability and Employment

As a part of our (Un)Employment in America series, I wanted to take a look at the disabled in America and how much they are working.  We recognize that some around us may be in a position where they are unable to work, and we do not have a problem with that.  We simply want to see if the number of disabled persons jumped as the recession started, indicating a possible societal versus medical issue.  The results were interesting.

Statistics weren't kept by the Federal Reserve before mid-2008, but the number of disabled actually dropped for a period before rising again in late 2010.  While the chart is currently at an all-time high, it is indicative of population growth.  The real question then becomes how many of these people are working and how does that match up with the rest of our society.

The disabled took a hit with the recession and have yet to rebound, yet their employment remains stable.  It's important to note here that we are also using this research to help estimate the number of Americans on disability insurance to assist with the crafting of our Social Security solution.  The final statistic is the percentage of the disabled population that is employed, and keep in mind, this includes children and seniors.

Compared with the population to employment ratio, this isn't all that bad.  As the relative of a disabled person, I can also attest that there are several individuals in this demographic who are doing part-time, supervised labor and not considered "employed" by BLS standards.  Accounting for that, the ratio is much higher.  In fact, their employment activity could rival the rest of the population.

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