Why Are Disabled People Employed in Record Numbers?

The strong labor market recovery has benefited many people, but those with disabilities are among those who have benefited the most. The Bureau of Labor Statistics contributed another data point to this trend last Friday.

The BLS reported that among this group, the number of employed people increased by about 175,000 in June to reach 7.6 million, the highest number at any time since June 2008, the earliest year for which data is available. The employment-to-population ratio for disabled individuals has likewise reached an all-time high of 22.4%.

However, the employment-to-population for non disabled people is more than double what it is for disabled people at 60.3%. Unsurprisingly, only 4% of employees self identify as disabled.

According to experts, the employment gains are the product of continued strong labor demand as a result of an ongoing labor shortage in many sections of the economy, as well as the decreased stigma associated with working from home as a result of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, many employers have pushed their employees to return to the office since the beginning of 2023. Disney CEO Bob Iger ordered employees to return to the office four days a week on March 1. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced that employees must return to the office three days a week beginning in May.

It is difficult to get data on which industries or occupations have witnessed the greatest recent gains in the numbers of people with impairments. Historically, this population’s labor has been centered in various types of retail business, as well as physical labor positions in food preparation or cleaning.

Disabilities shouldn’t prevent people from finding employment. Employers need to hire disabled people. Data shows that we are reliable, creative, and hardworking. Disabled people can be valuable assets in the workplace. Employers, however, won’t see that if they don’t hire us.


“All in: Easterseals Plan for Disability Equity.” Easterseals, Easterseals, https://www.easterseals.com/our-programs/employment-training/all-in/. “

Fung, Brian. “Amazon to Require Office Workers to Show up in Person at Least Three Days a Week.” 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/17/tech/amazon-return-to-office/index.html.

“The Employment Situation-June 2023 .” The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7 July 2023, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf.

Wile, Rob. “Employment among People with Disabilities Hits New Post-Pandemic High.” NBCNews.com, 7 July 2023, http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/jobs-for-people-with-disabilities-hit-new-post-pandemic-high-rcna93084.

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