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Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 13, 2016

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which seeks to celebrate the many work contributions of Americans with disabilities and to educate the public on the employment difficulties they often face.

In 2015, there were about 5.2 million people with disabilities employed in the United States. While the largest share of employed people with disabilities worked in management, professional, and related occupations (31.3 percent), this was smaller than the share of people with no disabilities employed in these same occupations (39.2 percent). Employed people with disabilities were more heavily concentrated in service occupations and in production, transportation, and material moving occupations than their counterparts with no disabilities.

Percentage of total employed by occupation, disability status, and sex, 2015 annual averages
Occupation People with a disability People without a disability
Total Men Women Total Men Women

Total employed

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Management, professional, and related occupations

31.3 28.7 34.3 39.2 35.7 43.2

Service occupations

21.7 17.5 26.7 17.2 14.0 20.9

Sales and office occupations

22.9 16.3 30.6 22.6 16.4 29.6

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

9.7 16.6 1.6 9.2 16.5 0.9

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

14.4 20.8 6.9 11.8 17.3 5.5

Highlights from the 2015 data:

  • People with disabilities were about 3 times more likely than those without a disability to be age 65 and over.
  • For all age groups, the employment—population ratio was much lower for people with a disability than for those without a disability.
  • Unemployment rates were higher for people with a disability than for those without a disability among all educational attainment groups.
  • 32 percent of workers with a disability were employed part time, compared with 18 percent of workers without a disability.
  • Workers with a disability were more likely to be self-employed than those with no disability.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics — 2015" (HTML) (PDF). The employment–population ratio is the percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population that is employed. To learn more, see our page on people with a disability.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month at (visited June 20, 2024).

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