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Report: Disabled NY Adults Face a Higher Jobless Rate


A new report released Wednesday by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli finds that after a nationwide spike in unemployment, New Yorkers with disabilities continue to face a higher unemployment rate than the national average for those with disabilities. In 2020, unemployment rates for working-aged people with a disability soared in both New York and the nation, reaching 13.9% and 13.4%, respectively. The national rate dropped to 8.2% in 2022, but in New York, it was 11.9%.

“For people living with disabilities, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many challenges, but also presented new opportunities through increased remote work,” DiNapoli said. “New York needs to address barriers to equal employment and invest in services and supports that will help level the playing field for disabled New Yorkers in the workplace.”

Between 2020 and 2022, the number of working-age people with disabilities grew 14.4% in New York and 10.9% nationally. Nationally, the share of working-age people with disabilities who are employed has grown since 2020, reaching a new high of 34.7% in 2022. In New York, the share has declined continually since 2019, to 26.1% in 2022. The difference in this metric between New York and the nation – 8.6 percentage points – is the largest recorded in the past 13 years.

Employment gaps between New Yorkers with and without disabilities also persist. The unemployment rate for New Yorkers with a disability was 11.9%, or 7.6 percentage points higher than for those who do not have a disability in 2022.

New York has recently taken new steps to increase opportunities for people with disabilities, including the expansion of the state’s preferred source contracting program and the creation of the Office of the Chief Disability Officer. The employment data outlined in the report highlights the ongoing need for solutions to help New Yorkers with disabilities find and maintain stable employment.

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