breaking barriers more workers with disabilities find jobs in 2022
It seems the tight labour market has started opening its doors for workers with disabilities.
According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the US, over 3% of people with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 were employed last year – the highest rate since the country started tracking this data in 2007. Moreover, compared to pre-pandemic levels, this statistic is up 31%.
The rise of flexible job arrangements during the pandemic, such as remote work, combined with the current hiring demand among employers making businesses now more willing than ever to consider a more diverse group of candidates, is why some people are finding job opportunities that may not have been accessible to them before.
Compared to 2021, when the unemployment rate among people with disabilities between the ages 16 – 64 was 10.8% and 6.8% among people aged 65 or older, in 2022, the figures saw significant drops, falling to 8.2% and 4.9% in the respective categories, the BLS says.
Since a substantial number of workers with disabilities are also older adults, they can encounter discrimination based on both ability and age in the workplace.
According to the BLS data, of the more than 32.6 million people which disabilities in the US in 2022, nearly 16 million people were 65 and older, compared to 6.2 million in the 55 to 64 age group, more than 3.3 million in the 45 to 54 group, and just 6.7 million in the 16 to 44 group.
Although federal law prohibits discrimination based on both ability and age, bias still can prevent some job aspirants from getting hired.
While a strong labour market and the growth of remote work helped workers with disabilities make notable progress last year, they continue to experience major disparities in the job market. Last year, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 7.6%, compared to 3.5% for those without disabilities.