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Chartbook on Work and Disability

Section 2: Work Disability and the Labor Force

2.2. How many people with a work disability are in the labor force?

Most of the population with a work disability are not in the labor force. Of the 17.2 million people with a work disability between the ages of 16 and 64, only 30.4% (5.2 million people) are in the labor force, and the unemployment rate among those in the labor force is 12.3%. In contrast, of the 155.3 million people with no work disability, 82.3% (127.8 million) are in the labor force, while the unemployment rate is only 4.8%.

More than two-thirds of people with a work disability are not in the labor force.

Circle graph showing people with and without a work disability who are employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force.

  Work Disability No Work Disability
  Number Percent
of Total
Number Percent
of Total
Not in labor force 11,941,000 69.6% 27,490,000 17.7%
In labor force 5,216,000 30.4% 127,821,000 82.3%
    Employed 4,564,000 26.6% 121,764,000 78.4%
    Unemployed 652,000 3.8% 6,057,000 3.9%
Total 17,157,000 100.0% 155,311,000 100%
Unemployment rate   12.3%   4.8%
Figure 7 & Table 1: Labor force data by work disability status

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census Website, Table 298.

Surveys: CPS, 1998.

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