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The Office for National Statistics have suspended the publication of employment levels for disabled people from the beginning of 2020 onwards. They are currently carrying out a reweighting exercise of this data, which is expected to be completed in July. Further information is available in the ONS article Labour Force Survey weighting methodology.

This Library briefing paper will not be updated until these statistics are republished. Please note that the currently published version of this briefing paper does contain the employment levels data that has subsequently been suspended. This information should be used with caution as it may change when the data is republished.

The ONS continue to publish employment rates for disabled people and this is available in the ONS A08: Labour market status of disabled people dataset.

Employment

52.3% of disabled people were in employment, down from 54.1% a year previously. The employment rate for people who are not disabled was 81.1%, down from 82.2%.

 

Unemployment

The unemployment rate for disabled people was 8.4% in October-December 2020, up from 6.9% a year previously. This compared to an unemployment rate of 4.6% for people who are not disabled.

Economically Inactive

Disabled people were considerably more likely than those who are not disabled to be economically inactive. While, the economic inactivity rate for disabled people was 42.9%, the corresponding figure for those who are not disabled was 14.9%.

Disability Employment Gap

Disabled people have an employment rate that is 28.8 percentage points lower than that of people who are not disabled. This difference is often referred to as the disability employment gap.

Impact of the coronavirus pandemic

Over the last year the proportion of disabled people who are in employment has gone down, while the proportion who are either unemployed, or economically inactive, has gone up.

The proportion of disabled people who are either unemployed or economically inactive has risen from 45.9% to 47.7% in the year to October-December 2021.

People who are not disabled have also seen an increase in the proportion who are either unemployed or economically inactive, but the increase has been smaller from 17.8% to 18.9%.

This has meant that that the disability employment gap has increased over the last year from 28.1% points to 28.8 percentage points.

The ONS have reported that a higher proportion of disabled employees have been made redundant than employees who are not disabled. In July-November 2020, 21.1 per thousand disabled employees were made redundant, compared to 13.0 per thousand employees who are not disabled.


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