The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released new data obtained from the July 2021 Current Population Survey (CPS). The supplement survey of households with persons with disabilities had been done twice before in May 20212 and July 2019. The information analyzed reports on barriers to employment, employment participation, requested accommodations in the workplace and other related labor issues.
In July 2021, 19.4 percent of persons with disabilities were employed as compared to 64.9 percent of persons with no disability. Of persons who were either unemployed or not in the labor force (no longer looking for a job), 43.7 percent reported at least one barrier to employment. This was 3.8 percentage points lower than the proportion in July 2019 as reported from the previous survey supplement (47.5 percent). Of the barriers reported to employment, the most reported was their own disability (78.9 percent). Other top barriers reported included:
- lack of education or training (12 percent)
- the need for special features at the job (10.5 percent)
- lack of transportation (10.3 percent)
According to the July 2021 data, employed persons with a disability were more likely to request an accommodation to do their job better than those with no disability (14.5 percent v. 6.7 percent). Changes included new or modified equipment; physical changes to the workplace; changes in work tasks, job structure or schedule; changes in communication or information sharing; and training. Among workers with a disability, 15.6 percent of those ages 16 to 64 had requested a change in their current workplace.
As compared to the previous survey data, more employed workers with a disability did at least some work from home (30.9 percent as compared to 26.3 percent in July 2019). An increase was also identified for workers without disabilities and likely reflects the impact of COVID-19.
To learn more, please visit Persons with a Disability: Barriers to Employment and Other Labor-Related Issues News Release – 2021 A01 Results (bls.gov).