The COVID-19 pandemic-induced shift towards remote work helped the US employment rate for people with disabilities hit an all-time high in 2022. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recently released data, 21.3% of disabled people were employed last year, up over two percentage points from the previous year, and the highest rate since comparable data was first published in 2008. Additionally, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has dropped to 7.6% in 2022, a decrease of 2.5 percentage points from the previous year.
The rise in remote and hybrid work arrangements made it easier for people with disabilities to apply for and land jobs, but as companies return to the office, those gains made may be at risk. The report also highlights that people with disabilities are still less likely to be employed than their non-disabled counterparts, with a higher rate of part-time employment and self-employment.
However, despite the progress made, people with disabilities still face higher unemployment rates than people without disabilities. The report notes that the employment-population ratio for people without disabilities is at 65.4%, which is significantly higher than the rate for people with disabilities. This disparity can be attributed, in part, to the older age profile of people with disabilities, as older workers are less likely to be employed regardless of disability status.
These findings are based on data from the Current Population Survey. For more information on the labor force characteristics of people with disabilities, visit the Disability section of the Demographic Characteristics page or check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report titled “Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics — 2022.“