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Chartbook on Work and Disability

Section 2: Work Disability and the Labor Force

2.7. What occupations are held by people with a work disability who are employed?

Of the 120 million people employed in the United States, 16 million are people with disabilities, according to analysis of SIPP employment data. The table Occupations of Workers with Disabilities, 1991-1992 shows the numbers of people with disabilities employed in various occupational categories. In this table, occupations are organized from the occupation where the highest number of people with disabilities are employed (executive and administrative) and ends with the occupation with the fewest reported people with disabilities (pharmacists, lawyers, judges, physicians, dentists, health professionals, firefighting and fire prevention.)

The second column in the table shows the cumulative percentage of all employed people with disabilities, as the reader moves down the list. The list is divided into Quartiles, showing roughly one quarter of all employed people with disabilities in each quartile. Thus, executive and administrative, machine operators, food preparation and service and sales workers account for approximately 25% of all employed people with disabilities. Handlers, cleaning and building services, mechanics and repairers, motor vehicle operators, secretarial, construction trades, and miscellaneous administrative support account for the second quartile. Many of the professions or occupations requiring advanced degrees (engineers, architects, registered nurses, social scientists, urban planners, lawyers) are in the fourth quartile.

Occupations of Workers with Disabilities

Total People Employed in the U.S. = 119,997,000 = 100%
Total People with Disabilities Employed in the U.S. = 16,064,000

First Quartile

Occupations Workers with
a Disability
Cumulative %
of Those Employed
Executive and administrative 995,000 6.9%
Machine operators 855,000 12.9%
Food preparation and service 813,000 18.6%
Sales workers (retail and personal services) 803,000 24.2%

Second Quartile

Occupations Workers with
a Disability
Cumulative %
of Those Employed
Handlers, equip. cleaners, helpers, laborers 768,000 29.5%
Cleaning, building service (except household) 669,000 34.2%
Mechanics, repairers 603,000 38.4%
Motor vehicle operators 507,000 42.0%
Secretaries, stenos, typists 493,000 45.4%
Construction trades 484,000 48.8%
Misc. administrative support 435,000 51.8%

Third Quartile

Occupations Workers with
a Disability
Cumulative %
of Those Employed
Health service 414,000 54.7%
Teachers 411,000 57.6%
Farm, forestry, fishing, and related 380,000 60.2%
Sales supervisors and proprietors 354,000 62.7%
Precision working 319,000 64.9%
Fabricators, assemblers, hand working 313,000 67.1%
Management related 306,000 69.2%
Personal service 304,000 71.4%
Material recording, sched., distributing clerks 287,000 73.4%
Financial records processing 271,000 75.3%

Fourth Quartile

Occupations Workers with
a Disability
Cumulative %
of Those Employed
Engineers, architects, surveyors 195,000 76.6%
Material moving equipment operators 187,000 77.9%
Health technologists and technicians 181,000 79.2%
Guards 180,000 80.4%
Information clerks 179,000 81.7%
Social, recreation, religious workers 178,000 82.9%
Supervisors (production operations) 177,000 84.2%
Registered nurses 166,000 85.3%
Production inspectors, testers, and related 152,000 86.4%
Writers, artists, entertainers, athletes 150,000 87.4%
Engineering technologists and technicians 149,000 88.5%
Sales representatives (commodities except retail) 149,000 89.5%
Supervisors (administrative support) 147,000 90.5%
Sales representatives (finance and bus. services) 132,000 91.5%
Math and computer scientists 126,000 92.3%
Postsecondary Teachers 104,000 93.1%
Private household 97,000 93.7%
Records processing (except financial) 96,000 94.4%
Computer equipment operators 95,000 95.1%
Mail and message distributing 91,000 95.7%
Police, detectives 82,000 96.3%
Other technicians (except health, engin., science) 61,000 96.7%
Office and communications equip. operators 52,000 97.1%
Rail and water transportation 41,000 97.4%
Other health assessment and treating 39,000 97.6%
Plant and system operations 38,000 97.9%
Science technicians 37,000 98.2%
Social scientists, urban planners 37,000 98.4%
Extractive 33,000 98.6%
Natural scientists 31,000 98.9%
Computer programmers 30,000 99.1%
Librarians, archivists, curators 29,000 99.3%
Counselors (educational and vocational) 28,000 99.5%
Pharmacists 22,000 99.6%
Lawyers, judges 21,000 99.8%
Physicians, dentists, health diagnosing 20,000 99.9%
Firefighting, fire prevention 14,000 100.0%

Table 2: Occupations of workers with disabilities, by quartiles

Source: McNeil (1993), Americans with Disabilities: 1991-92

Surveys: SIPP

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