Barriers to employment for persons with a disability

May 22, 2013

Half of the 23.1 million men and women with a disability who were not employed in May 2012 reported at least one barrier to employment. When asked to identify barriers they had encountered, most reported that their own disability was a barrier to employment (80.5 percent).

Persons with a disability 16 years and over who were not employed with a barrier to employment by age, sex, and type of barrier, May 2012
CharacteristicPercent of total not employed with a barrier to employment by type of barrier
Loss of government assistanceLack of job counselingEmployer or coworker attitudesNeed for special features at the jobLack of transportationLack of education or trainingOwn disability  Other  

Total, 16 years and over

4.25.77.910.311.714.180.518.0

16 to 64 years

5.07.09.712.314.316.583.515.1

65 years and over

2.62.64.15.95.98.674.124.4

Men

4.36.77.79.911.514.681.916.7

Women

4.24.88.110.711.813.679.519.1

NOTE: Percents may sum to more than 100 percent because persons with a disability were able to report more than one barrier to employment.
 

Other barriers cited included lack of education or training (14.1 percent), lack of transportation (11.7 percent), and the need for special features at the job (10.3 percent). 

A greater proportion of persons ages 16 to 64 reported a barrier to employment than those age 65 and over, perhaps reflecting the fact that older workers are, in general, less likely to participate in the labor force. Among persons with a disability age 25 and over, a smaller proportion of persons with a college degree who were not employed reported a barrier to employment than those with less than a high school diploma.

 

Persons with a disability 25 years and over who were not employed with a barrier to employment by educational attainment and type of barrier, May 2012
CharacteristicPercent of total not employed with a barrier to employment by type of barrier
Loss of government assistanceLack of job counselingEmployer or coworker attitudesNeed for special features at the jobLack of transportationLack of education or trainingOwn disability  Other  

Total, 25 years and over

4.35.27.59.910.412.980.818.2

Less than a high school diploma

4.97.46.29.211.923.580.419.1

High school graduates, no college(1)

3.14.16.48.39.09.081.917.5

Some college or associate degree

5.85.310.512.511.310.380.416.7

Bachelor's degree and higher(2)

2.62.57.711.08.83.379.521.6

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

NOTE: Percents may sum to more than 100 percent because persons with a disability were able to report more than one barrier to employment.
 

These data are from the Current Population Survey program. To learn more, see "Persons with a Disability: Barriers to Employment, Types of Assistance, and Other Labor-Related Issues — May 2012" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-13-0729. These data shown were collected through a supplement to the May 2012 Current Population Survey designed to gather data in several specific areas related to the employment situation of persons with disabilities. Data refer to persons with a disability who were not employed, that is, persons who were either unemployed (those who were not employed, but had recently searched for a job and were available to take a job if one were offered) or not in the labor force. Employed persons were not asked about barriers to employment.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Barriers to employment for persons with a disability on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130522.htm (visited July 24, 2014).

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