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Disabled People Twice As Likely To Be Unemployed

Disabled people twice as likely to be unemployed

In the June 2017 quarter, disabled people were more likely to be unemployed and their average weekly incomes were just over half those of non-disabled people, Stats NZ said today.

Disabled people’s average weekly incomes from self-employment and wages and salary were lower than those for non-disabled people, and they were less likely to be employed. However, average income from government transfers were higher for the disabled population. Employed disabled people earned less because, on average, they worked fewer weekly hours and had lower hourly wages.

Disabled people are those who have at least a lot of difficulty seeing or hearing (even with glasses or hearing aids), walking or climbing stairs, remembering or concentrating, self-care, or communicating.

The unemployment rate for disabled people (11.4 percent) was more than double the rate for non-disabled people (4.5 percent).

Those who are aged 65 years or older (65+) tend not to be in the labour force due to retirement. Disability is also more prevalent in this age group. When those aged 65+ are removed from the results, the labour force participation rate for disabled people increases from 25.2 percent to 45.2 percent.

The disability employment gap is affected by age

The employment rate for disabled people (22.4 percent) was less than one-third of the rate for non-disabled people (69.3 percent). The disability employment gap is the difference, in percentage points, between these two employment rates. The older age profile of disabled people has a considerable influence on this measure. The disability employment gap for people aged 15–64 years is 38.0 percentage points, compared with 47.0 percentage points for the whole working-age population.

Income for disabled people is just over half that of non-disabled people

In the June 2017 quarter, the average weekly income from all sources was $458 for disabled people, compared with $833 for non-disabled people. This includes income from self-employment, wages and salaries, and government transfers.

Disabled people were less likely to be employed, and more likely to have received some or all of their income from government transfers (74.8 percent) compared with non-disabled people (26.6 percent).

Disabled people who were employed worked fewer hours per week on average than non-disabled people. Average hourly earnings for disabled people who earned a wage or salary ($26.40) were less than those of non-disabled people who earned a wage or salary ($31.01).

More information about disability status

In the June 2017 quarter, the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) began including data on the disability status of respondents. This article and accompanying data tables present, for the first time, a comprehensive suite of labour market statistics, broken down by disability status.

We will continue to derive labour market outcomes for disabled people and non-disabled people in June quarters, each year, using the Washington Group Short Set (WGSS) questions.

Improving New Zealand disability data contains more information on the use of the WGSS questions in the HLFS, New Zealand General Social Survey, and the census. Results from this new measure will differ considerably from those seen in the 2013 Disability survey, due largely to differences in the questions used.

The WGSS questions are not designed to produce counts or rates of disabled people in New Zealand, but are used as a demographic like sex, age, or ethnicity.

We will publish further articles on labour market outcomes by disability status on 8 September 2017:

Disabled workers earn nearly $200 a week less than non-disabled employees – employment outcomes by disability status

One in five employed disabled people want to work more hours – underutilisation by disability status

Forty-two percent of disabled youth not earning or learning – youth by disability status

Visit Labour Market Statistics (Disability): June 2017 quarter

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