The societal changes made during the pandemic, primarily working from home, have led to a significant increase in employment for people with disabilities. The remote working trend has removed longstanding employment obstacles for those in the disability community.

The Highest Number Since Data Has Been Gathered

Figures from July of 2023 show the number of people with disabilities employed has risen by 175,000 to reach 7.6 million this June. Moreover, the employment-to-population for employees with disabilities is now at a record high of 22.4%.

These numbers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are the highest they have ever been since they began tracking the data in 2008.

Contributing Factors to High Employment Rate for People With Disabilities

Experts point to two reasons for the increase in employment of those with disabilities: an overall shortage of labor and acceptance of work-from-home positions.

Many parts of the economy are experiencing a shortage of workers. Couple that with the new acceptance of the working-from-home lifestyle, more people with disabilities have found employment. A significant obstacle to employment for many is transportation. Work-from-home jobs eliminate that obstacle.

Still Plenty of Room for Improvement

While these recent trends have been positive, there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to employment in the disability community.

A report from February that summarized the 2022 labor market for people with disabilities showed that across all age groups, people with disabilities were still significantly less likely to gain employment compared to those without a disability. Unemployment rates are nearly twice as high for people with disabilities. Moreover, 30% of those employed people with a disability were only part-time, compared to 16% of workers without a disability.

Skills training and transitional services, as well as continued advocacy in the realm of employment, are keys to improving the overall outlook of the labor market.

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