As employers face increasing difficulties in attracting entry-level workers, some companies have been pursuing more constructive strategies for developing opportunities for the disabled.
Along with low unemployment levels and a gradual increase in work force participation, the available data indicates that the disabled are now also part of the trend.
The average unemployment rate for the disabled fell to 8% in 2018, down 4.6 percentage points from 2014. In addition, the number of Americans receiving federal disability benefits dropped to 8.5 million in December from a peak of 9.0 million four years earlier.
This is a big deal. Employment among people with disabilities has been declining for a long time, now it’s not. The economic pluses for the economy and the individuals is obvious. Less quantifiable are the positive human benefits of meaningful work. Sitting around and getting a government Social Security disability payment may sound appealing. It’s not, it’s debilitating, and can lead to all kinds of physical well-being problems.
All comments and suggestions are welcome.
Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA