Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Economic News Release
PRINT:Print
CPS CPS Program Links

Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, February 24, 2022 			  USDL-22-0317

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps 
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


           PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY: LABOR FORCE CHARACTERISTICS -- 2021


In 2021, 19.1 percent of persons with a disability were employed, up from 17.9 percent
in 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. For persons without a disability,
63.7 percent were employed in 2021, up from 61.8 percent in the prior year. The
unemployment rates for persons with and without a disability both declined from 2020
to 2021, to 10.1 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. Data for both groups reflect
the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market.

Data on persons with a disability are collected as part of the Current Population Survey
(CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides statistics on
employment and unemployment in the United States. Collection of the data on persons with
a disability is sponsored by the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment
Policy. For more information, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Highlights from the 2021 data:

 --Half of all persons with a disability were age 65 and over, nearly three times larger
   than the share for those with no disability. (See table 1.)

 --Across all age groups, persons with disabilities were much less likely to be employed
   than those with no disabilities. (See table 1.)

 --Across all educational attainment groups, unemployment rates for persons with a
   disability were higher than those for persons without a disability. (See table 1.)

 --In 2021, 29 percent of workers with a disability were employed part time, compared
   with 16 percent for those with no disability. (See table 2.)

 --Employed persons with a disability were more likely to be self-employed than those
   with no disability. (See table 4.)

Demographic characteristics

In 2021, persons with a disability accounted for 11.9 percent of the civilian noninstitutional
population. Persons with a disability tend to be older than persons with no disability,
reflecting the increased incidence of disability with age. In 2021, half of persons with
a disability were age 65 and over, compared with 18 percent of those with no disability.
Overall, women were somewhat more likely to have a disability than men, partly reflecting 
the greater life expectancy of women. In 2021, the prevalence of disability continued to
be higher for Blacks and Whites than for Hispanics and Asians. (See table 1.)

Employment

The employment-population ratio--that is, the percent of the population that is employed--
for persons with a disability increased by 1.2 percentage points from the prior year to 
19.1 percent in 2021. This was nearly the same ratio as in 2019 (19.3 percent), before
the impact of the pandemic. The ratio for those without a disability, at 63.7 percent in
2021, increased by 1.9 percentage points over the year but was 2.6 percentage points 
lower than in 2019. The lower ratio among persons with a disability reflects, in part,
the older age profile of persons with a disability; older workers are less likely to be
employed, regardless of disability status. However, across all age groups, persons with
a disability were much less likely to be employed than those with no disability. (See
tables A and 1.)

In 2021, the employment-population ratio for persons with a disability ages 16 to 64
increased to 31.4 percent, while the ratio for persons without a disability in the same
age group increased to 72.5 percent. The ratios for persons age 65 and over with a
disability (6.9 percent) and without a disability (22.3 percent) showed little or no 
change from the prior year. (See table A.)

Persons with a disability were less likely to have completed a bachelor's degree and
higher than those with no disability. Among both groups, those who had attained higher
levels of education were more likely to be employed than those who had attained less
education. Across all levels of education in 2021, persons with a disability were much
less likely to be employed than were their counterparts with no disability. (Educational
attainment data are presented for those age 25 and over.) (See table 1.)

Workers with a disability were more likely to be employed part time than those with no
disability. Among workers with a disability, 29 percent usually worked part time in 2021,
compared with 16 percent of those without a disability. The proportion of workers with
a disability who worked part time for economic reasons was higher than their counterparts
without a disability (4 percent, compared with 3 percent). These individuals were working
part time because their hours had been reduced or because they were not able to find a
full-time job. (See table 2.)

In 2021, persons with a disability were more likely to work in service occupations than
those with no disability (18.2 percent, compared with 15.9 percent). Workers with a 
disability were also more likely than those with no disability to work in production,
transportation, and material moving occupations (14.6 percent, compared with 12.6 percent)
and sales and office occupations (21.4 percent, compared with 19.7 percent). Persons
with a disability were less likely to work in management, professional, and related
occupations than those without a disability (36.5 percent, compared with 42.7 percent).
(See table 3.)

A larger share of workers with a disability were self-employed in 2021 than were those
with no disability (9.6 percent versus 6.4 percent). In contrast, a smaller share of
workers with a disability were private wage and salary workers (76.5 percent) than were
those without a disability (80.0 percent). The proportion of persons employed in government
was about the same for both persons with a disability and persons without a disability
(13.9 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively). (See table 4.)

Unemployment

The unemployment rate for persons with a disability, at 10.1 percent in 2021, decreased
by 2.5 percentage points from the previous year but remains higher than in 2019 (7.3 
percent). The jobless rate for those with a disability was about twice as high as the rate
for those without a disability. (Unemployed persons are those who did not have a job, were
available for work, and were actively looking for a job in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.)
The unemployment rate for persons without a disability decreased by 2.8 percentage points
to 5.1 percent in 2021. (See tables A and 1.)

At 10.1 percent in 2021, the unemployment rate for men with a disability was the same as
for women with a disability. The unemployment rates for both men and women with a disability
decreased from 2020 to 2021; however, both remain above their 2019 rates.

Among persons with a disability, the jobless rates for Blacks (15.1 percent) and Hispanics
(13.3 percent) were higher than the rates for Whites (9.3 percent) and Asians (8.5 percent)
in 2021. The rates for Whites, Asians, and Hispanics decreased from 2020 to 2021, while the
rate for Blacks showed little change. (See table 1.)

Not in the labor force

Persons who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force. A large proportion
of persons with a disability--about 8 in 10--were not in the labor force in 2021, compared
with about 3 in 10 of those with no disability. In part, this reflects the older age profile
of persons with a disability; persons age 65 and over are much less likely to participate in
the labor force than younger age groups. Across all age groups, however, persons with a 
disability were more likely to be out of the labor force than those with no disability. (See
table 1.)

For persons with and without a disability, the vast majority of those not in the labor force
reported that they do not want a job. In 2021, 3 percent of those with a disability and 7
percent of those without a disability wanted a job. Among those who do want a job, a subset
are classified as marginally attached to the labor force. These individuals wanted and were
available to work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not
counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
(Persons marginally attached to the labor force include discouraged workers.) Less than 1 
percent of persons with a disability and about 2 percent of persons without a disability were
marginally attached to the labor force in 2021. (See table 5.)



Last Modified Date: February 24, 2022