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Disabled more likely to work, look for work

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More people with disabilities seem to have jobs, and more seem to be interested in getting jobs.

Analysts at the Kessler Foundation and the Institute on Disability have published data supporting those conclusions in a review of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased to 27.6 percent in February, up from 25.2 percent a year earlier, the analysts reported.

The labor force participation rate, or percentage of people with disabilities who are either working or actively looking for work, increased to 31.8 percent, from 30.4 percent over that same period, and the unemployment rate for people with disabilities fell to 13.4 percent, from 17.3 percent, the analysts said.

The employment-to-population rate for the overall population increased just slightly — to 69.9 percent, from 69.8 percent — over that same period, the analysts said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also found signs of improvement in the labor market for people with disabilities in December 2012. That month, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities fell to 13.5 percent, from 14.3 percent a year earlier. But the reported labor participation rate for people with disabilities fell to 20.7 percent, from 21 percent.

Disability labor specialists have suggested that reasons for the improvement could include problems with the government statistics, improvement in the employment outlook, improvements in public or private return-to-work programs, or changes in public or private disability benefits programs that may be making recipients less comfortable with the idea of depending on the benefits programs.

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