How Has COVID-19 Impacted Disability Employment?

In this working paper, researchers evaluated employment trends for people with and without disabilities over the course of the COVID-19 recession and subsequent employment recovery, both overall and by occupational category (essential, non-essential, teleworkable, non-teleworkable, frontline, nonfrontline) using data from the nationally representative Current Population Survey. As the COVID-19 recession began in the second quarter of 2020, people with disabilities experienced employment losses that were proportionately similar to those experienced by people without disabilities. However, during the subsequent economic recovery, the employment rate of people with disabilities has grown more quickly in the fourth quarter of 2021 through Q2 2022, driven by increased labor force participation. These employment gains have been concentrated in teleworkable, essential, and non- frontline occupations. The findings suggest that people with disabilities are disproportionately benefiting from the rapid recovery from the initial economic contraction at the start of the pandemic.

Disability area: 
Cross disability
Life area: 
Project name: 
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy: Center for Disability inclusive Employment Policy Research
Grant number: 
Product type: 
Report/Research brief
Date published: