nTIDE February 2019 Jobs Report: Job Indicators decline slightly for Americans with disabilities

Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire release nTIDE Report – Monthly Update

nTIDE Comparison of People with and without Disabilities (February 2018 & 2019)Durham, NH – Job numbers showed slight declines for Americans with disabilities, while the numbers improved for Americans without disabilities, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). The minimal declines in the economic indicators may be consistent with the leveling off of gains for this population seen over the last year.

The Hollywood awards season has spotlighted the disparities in hiring in the entertainment industry. Programs such as Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Films are helping people with disabilities take advantage of the broad range of opportunities in creative and technical jobs. Join our nTIDE Lunch & Learn series today, March 8, at 12:00 pm Eastern.

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Report released Friday, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities decreased from 30.5 percent in February 2018 to 30 percent in February 2019 (down 1.6 percent or 0.5 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 73.5 percent in February 2018 to 74.1 percent in February 2019 (up 0.8 percent or 0.6 percentage points). The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population (the number of people working divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).

“The employment indicators for people with disabilities in February declined slightly compared to last year at this time,” said John O’Neill, PhD, director of employment and disability research at Kessler Foundation. “In addition, the 25-month upward trend in the employment-to-population ratio seen between February 2016 and March 2018 has been leveling off over the last year.”

The labor force participation rate for working-age people with disabilities decreased from 33.6 percent in February 2018 to 33.3 percent in February 2019 (down 0.9 percent or 0.3 percentage points). For working-age people without disabilities, the labor force participation rate increased from 76.8 percent in February 2018 to 77.1 percent in February 2019 (up 0.4 percent or 0.3 percentage points). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work.

“After some really great numbers for people with disabilities in 2017 and 2018, there appears to be a slowdown in the degree to which people with disabilities are engaging in the labor market,” noted Andrew Houtenville, PhD, associate professor of economics at UNH and research director of the Institute on Disability. “We will be keeping a careful eye on these data in the coming months.”

To take advantage of the many opportunities for employment in the creative arts, people with disabilities need orientation to potential careers, hands-on experiences to explore their talents, and the social skills needed for collaborative projects. Inclusion Films, based in California, offers film-making camps and workshops that foster creative development and reinforce social and vocational skills for teens and young adults with autism and developmental disabilities. In addition to five production studios in California, Inclusion Film’s popular programs are hosted by nonprofit organizations in cities around the country.

Inclusion Films was founded in 2007 by Joey Travolta, the actor, producer, director and screenwriter. Motivated by his positive experiences working with youth with disabilities, Travolta dedicates his efforts to expanding their opportunities for fulfilling employment in the entertainment industry. Inclusion Films’ production team provides custom video services for clients that include Easter Seals, NBA Cares, the Phoenix Suns, and the Bentonville Film Festival. These projects are incorporated into the camps and workshop curricula to provide students with real work experience and industry connections.

A crew of 70% individuals with developmental disabilities recently produced Inclusion Films’ first feature-length film, “Carol of The Bells,” starring RJ Mitte from the AMC hit series, “Breaking Bad. “The film tells the story of a young man who searches for his birth mother, and finds that she has developmental disabilities.

Inclusion Films offers training in all aspects of filmmaking — from script writing to technical editing — to meet the growing need for talent by the entertainment industry. The instructors are cinematographers, set designers, actors, and other working professionals. In Travolta’s experience, the students actively join in the creative process, and are adept at learning the technology required for editing as well as for developing creative content.

“A capable workforce is being left untapped,” Travolta asserted. “Our students are dedicated, dependable, and bring a different perspective to problem solving. They are a good fit for many of the skilled jobs in film-making and related fields. As for employers, hiring people with disabilities is easier than ever, and businesses can take advantage of on-site support and training for transitioning new hires, at little to no cost. All that is needed is leadership at the top, an open-minded team, and a commitment to diversity that includes people with disabilities.”

In February 2019, among workers ages 16-64, the 4,649,000 workers with disabilities represented 3.2 percent of the total 145,917,000 workers in the U.S.

Join our nTIDE Lunch & Learn series today, March 8, at 12:00 pm Eastern. This live broadcast, hosted via Zoom Webinar, offers attendees Q&A on the latest nTIDE findings, provides news and updates from the field, as well as invited panelists to discuss current disability-related findings and events. Joey Travolta, actor, director, producer and founder of Inclusion Films, joins Dr. Houtenville, Dr. O’Neill, and Denise Rozell, Policy Strategist at AUCD, to discuss successful programs for expanding job opportunities in media and entertainment. Join live or watch the recordings at: www.ResearchonDisability.org/nTIDE.

NOTE: The statistics in the nTIDE are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers but are not identical. They are customized by UNH to combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64). nTIDE is funded, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) (9ORT5022 and 90RT5017) and Kessler Foundation.