Data Note 13: Disability and Occupation

Originally published: 12/2007

It is well-documented that people with disabilities have a significantly lower rate of employment than people without disabilities (36% versus 74% according to the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS). Less is known about the types of work they do. Using the occupational classification system within the ACS, researchers explored the prevalence of people with disabilities within occupational groupings and discuss its relationship to occupational growth. Future analysis will address variation across disability groups.

People with disabilities constitute 6.5% of all working-age individuals who are employed in the United States. The group "management, business, and financial operations" has the lowest percentage of people with disabilities (4.4%).

The US Department of Labor projects that approximately 18.9M new jobs will be created between 2004 and 2014. Of the occupations shown on Chart 1, "production, transportation and materials moving," which presently has the highest percentage of people with disabilities within the category, is projected to have the lowest number of new jobs (approximately 1 million). "Professional and related" and "service" occupations are projected to have the greatest increase in number of jobs with over 5 million in each group. This could allow for increased opportunities for people with disabilities to work in these areas.

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