Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

US Labor Secretary comments on data on labor force participation for persons with disabilities: We will make sure that people who want to work can work

WASHINGTON — Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released, for the first time, a detailed comprehensive overview on the employment of Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics, 2009. Armed with this new data, researchers, disability advocates, and policy makers can better project labor force participation for working-aged persons with disabilities.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis stated, "I am pleased that the data released today will help better tailor policies and workforce development strategies, leveraging the talents and skills of this important segment of our population. According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, just one in five people with disabilities were in the labor force and the unemployment rate for those with disabilities remains much higher than the national average. We will use this new information to help increase service capacity and accessibility to workforce development systems including the one-stop-career centers and ensure that people with disabilities have access to employment support, transportation, housing, and other support services. We will make sure that people who want to work can work."

In 2009, the employment-population ratio — the proportion of the population that is employed — was 19.2 percent for persons with a disability. Among those with no disability, the ratio was much higher (64.5 percent). For all age groups, persons with a disability were much less likely to be employed than those with no disability. The latest unemployment rate of persons with a disability is 14.5 percent. These statistics were obtained from the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey that provides statistics on employment and unemployment in the United States.

To read the BLS report issued today and the current CPS go to

Office of Disability Employment Policy
August 25, 2010
Release Number
Media Contact: Bennett Gamble