Census: Workers With a Disability Less Likely to Be Employed

Washington — March 14

Individuals with disabilities were less likely to be employed than those without disabilities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and those who were employed typically held jobs with lower earnings and also earned less than their colleagues with no disability.

Based on the Census’ new “Disability Employment Tabulation,” the statistics show that between 2008 and 2010 individuals without disabilities were about three times more likely to be employed than individuals with disabilities. Overall, individuals with disabilities accounted for 9.4 million, or 6 percent, of the 155.9 million civilian labor force, according to the Census Bureau.

More than half of all workers with a disability were concentrated in four general occupation groups: service workers (except protective services), with 18.2 percent, followed by administrative support (15.1 percent), sales workers (10.4 percent) and management, business and finance (8.9 percent).

Among specific occupations, janitors and building cleaners had the highest number of employees with a disability at 315,000, or 11.8 percent of all workers in that field, followed by drivers/sales workers and truck drivers with 263,000 people, cashiers with 256,000 and retail salespeople with 223,000.

Among occupations with 100,000 or more people, dishwashers had the highest disability rate at 14.3 percent, followed by refuse and recyclable material collectors (12.7 percent), personal care aides (11.9 percent) and janitors and building cleaners (11.8 percent). The rates for refuse and recyclable material collectors, personal care aides and janitors and building cleaners were not statistically different from one another.

More than half of workers with disabilities (52 percent) earned less than $25,000 in the previous year, according to the survey, compared with just 38 percent of workers with no disabilities. This translates into an earnings gap where individuals with disabilities earn about 75 percent of what workers without disabilities earn.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau