Research Brief: A User Guide to Current Statistics on the Employment of People with Disabilities

Richard V. Burkhauser, Cornell University
Andrew J. Houtenville, Cornell University
David C. Wittenburg, Cornell University

Burkhauser, R.V., Houtenville, A.J., & Wittenburg, D.C., (March 2003), Research Brief: A User Guide to Current Statistics on the Employment of People with Disabilities, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Economic Research on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/edicollect/90

Abstract

A MAJOR DEBATE is taking place over reports of an unprecedented decline in the employment rate of working age people with disabilities over the 1990s business cycle (1989-2000) by those using currently available national representative data sources. See Figure 1. The debate is focused on the quality of the data, with some critics calling on the Federal government to end all its financial support for the dissemination of employment estimates for people with disabilities using currently available data. Others argue that although the current data are usable within certain limits, the declines in employment reported are quite sensitive to the definitions used to capture the “relevant” population with disabilities.