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New statistics on disabled workers

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

As the Obama administration pledges to hire more people with disabilities, some new numbers suggest the percentage of disabled American workers employed in the public sector is on par with the percentage of workers who are not disabled.

According to statistics released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15.8 percent of employed people with disabilities work for local, state or federal governments, compared to 15.2 percent of employed people without disabilities.

The federal government employs 2.9 percent of disabled workers, compared to 2.6 percent of all workers without disabilities.

Those numbers are encouraging -- until you consider this: Just 19.2 percent of all disabled Americans have jobs, compared to 64.5 percent of all American people without disabilities. Those figures hold across all age groups. And nearly one-third of workers with a disability are employed part time, BLS said. One-fifth of workers without disabilities are part time workers.

This week's report is the first time the government has compiled and released statistics on the employment status of disabled people. BLS obtained its information from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, which compiles employment information on a monthly basis from about 60,000 households.

The new information comes as the Obama administration is making a hard effort to hire more disabled people, as noted by Federal News Radio's Jason Miller. President Obama signed an executive order last month ordering the government to hire more disabled people, and the Office of Management and Budget will provide tips to agencies on how to do so by November. The Labor Department also may force government contractors to set similar goals for hiring disabled workers.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | August 27, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Can you please tell me where the line is drawn, in these studies, between disabled and non-disabled? For example, would someone with-- say-- rheumatoid arthritis that is in remission be considered disabled or non-disabled for the purposes of these employment studies?

Posted by: lolar2 | August 27, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@lolar2: The questions used to identify people with disabilities in this survey can be found at

Posted by: mbrault | August 27, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Where would I find statistics on people on permanent total disability workers compensation? Federal and Private? By State?

Posted by: bvb465 | August 27, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Are you aware of any administration plans to help agencies fund or streamline procurement of other types of accommodation [i.e. assistive technology, facility improvement] that may be needed for newly-hired disabled employees?

Posted by: mw93dc | August 30, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

why would the government hire anyone who ISN'T disabled? retardation and illiteracy are a REQUIREMENT.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 31, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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