A recent study published on Wednesday reveals that the unemployment rate for New Yorkers with disabilities remains higher than the national average, despite a nationwide decrease in unemployment for this population. The report, conducted by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, highlights the ongoing disparity in employment opportunities for disabled individuals in New York.
In 2020, both the national and New York unemployment rates for working-age individuals with disabilities surged, reaching 13.4% and 13.9% respectively. By 2022, the national rate had fallen to 8.2%, while New York’s rate only dropped to 11.9%. DiNapoli emphasized the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled individuals, noting that remote work options offered new possibilities but also underlined the need to address existing barriers to equal employment.
Between 2020 and 2022, the working-age population of disabled individuals in New York increased by 14.4%, representing 6.7% of the total working-age population. While the national employment rate for this group reached a record high of 34.7% in 2022, New York’s rate consistently declined since 2019, falling to 26.1% in 2022. This 8.6 percentage point difference is the largest recorded in over a decade.
A significant employment gap persists between New Yorkers with and without disabilities. In 2022, disabled New Yorkers experienced an 11.9% unemployment rate, 7.6 percentage points higher than their non-disabled counterparts.
To address these disparities, New York has implemented initiatives to expand opportunities for disabled individuals. The state has broadened its preferred source contracting program and introduced a training and certification program for employers committed to fostering inclusive workplaces. In February 2022, the Office of the Chief Disability Officer (CDO) was established to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and guarantee equal employment opportunities for disabled New Yorkers.
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