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Disability employment rate continues to fall

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The U.S. job market seemed to get a little easier for people with no disability in August and harder for people with a disability.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate for adults with disabilities increased to 14.1 percent in August, up from 13.9 percent a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities rose as the unemployment rate for people with no disabilities fell to 7.1 percent, from 8 percent.

In some cases, an improving job market can push up the unemployment rate by tempting “discouraged workers” who have been out of the labor force back into the job market.

But the BLS says the labor force participate rate for people with disabilities fell to 20.5 percent in August, from 20.9 percent in 2012.

The employment rate for people with disabilities — the total percentage of people with disabilities who had jobs — dropped to 17.6 percent, from 18 percent, as the employment rate for people with no disabilities climbed to 64.2 percent, from 63.8 percent.

The Kessler Foundation — a think tank that conducts research on workers with disabilities and now publishes a monthly report on the state of the job market for people with disabilities — said the numbers may change later this year, when bureau analysts start to adjust the figures for seasonal employment variations.

John O’Neill, a disability researcher at the foundation, said the drop in the percentage of people with disabilities who are engaged in the labor force is discouraging.

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