Data Sources on Workers with Disabilities

Organizational Author(s): Employment and Training Administration, Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics


The U.S. Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has created this resource to make it easy for you to understand and locate employment data for persons with disabilities, focusing on sources that supply information on labor market hardship.

The data show that persons with disabilities experience unemployment rates almost double those without disabilities.

Usual Weekly Earnings Tables by Disability Status

This resource contains usual weekly earnings data for full-time employees by disability status — and also by age, gender, race, and Hispanic ethnicity.  Due to the introduction of new disability surveys, this data first became available for 2009. 

The data are produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and come from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS), the same survey that produces the monthly unemployment rates.  Note that these data are not adjusted for inflation, and thus cannot be directly compared from one year to another. 

SIPP Disability Employment Data

The Census Bureau has produced an employment data series for persons with disabilities from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The advantage of this series is that it relies on a consistent definition of disability, unlike the BLS survey, which changed the definition of disability in 2008.

SIPP defines unemployment differently than the CPS (the SIPP definition results in lower unemployment rates), so these new estimates are not comparable with the disability employment rates now issued by BLS.  The BLS unemployment rates for persons with disabilities in the 2009-11 period are 14.5, 14.8. and 15.0 percent, respectively. 

The data show that the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities more than doubled between the low points of 2006-7 and the peak level in 2010 (from about 5.5 to 13.7 percent), before falling to 12.1 percent in 2011 (note that the BLS rates show an increase rather than a decline between 2010 and 2011). 


Special CPS Disability Supplement Questionnaire

The survey was conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with sponsorship and funding from the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

For more background on the special supplement, see the Webinar conducted by the Department’s Employment and Training Administration entitled Using BLS and Census Disability Statistics for Employment and Training Decisions.

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Content Information

Content Type: Resource
Target Populations: Disabilities, persons with


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Posted: 6/27/2018 8:58 PM
Posted By: Teresa Theis
Posted In: LMI Central
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