Sept. 4, 2001 --
Labor Day has come and gone. While pundits worry about rising unemployment rates among the general public, the employment rate for people with disabilities has not changed much since World War II -- despite rehabilitation efforts and law, including the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Why has the employment rate of people with disabilities hovered around 35 percent since World War II? Ending workplace discrimination against people with disabilities was a key aim of the ADA. But it wasn't a silver bullet. In an article being published this month in the journal Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, Jae Kennedy and Marjorie Olney estimate that almost 10 percent of working adults with disabilities faced job discrimination in the early 1990s, despite ADA protections. Read more from the University of Illinois press office at http://www.news.uiuc.edu/biztips/01/09ada.html
As level of education rises, so does labor force participation, and this is true for people with and without work disabilities. However, labor force participation increases much more sharply for people with work disabilities than for those without. To see details, visit the Census Bureau chart at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disable/cps/cps298.htm and look at the Chartbook on Work and Disability in the United States, 1998 at http://www.infouse.com/disabilitydata/workdisability_2_5.html
More interesting Labor Day facts about work and people with disabilities are available at our website, at http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/economics-employment/labor2001.htm
For in-depth statistics and studies, visit Cornell University's program on employment and disability at http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/ped/il/independence/