Workers with disabilities are three times more likely to be unemployed than non-disabled workers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
According to the study, the 9.4 million disabled employees represent about 6 percent of the workforce. Among disabled men, the most common professions are drivers/sales workers and truck drivers, janitors and building cleaners, laborers and freight, stock, and material movers. Disabled women were most often cashiers, secretaries/administrative assistants or nursing, psychiatric and home health aides.
Apart from lower employment rates, the disabled are paid lower wages, according to the survey. Their earnings tend to be 75 percent of what their non-disabled peers are, and almost half make less than $25,000 a year.
"Even within the largest occupations, employed workers with disabilities on average earned less than similarly employed workers without disabilities," said Jennifer Cheeseman Day, the assistant chief for employment characteristics in the Census Bureau's Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division. "Several factors may account for this earnings gap, such as differences in age, work experience, number of hours worked, or other factors. For example, 46 percent of workers with a disability worked full time, year-round compared with 62 percent of workers with no disability."
This data from the Census Bureau tracks with the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which found that unemployment was at about 12.3 percent in February 2013, almost 5 full percentage points higher than the national average for the same time period of 7.6 percent.