The 2012 jobless rate for people with disabilities slipped to 13.4 percent, down from 15 percent in 2011 but still substantially higher than the 7.9 percent for people without disabilities.
The U.S. Department of Labor also said Wednesday that only 17.8 percent of people with disabilities held a job at any time last year. In contrast, the employment-to-population ratio for people without disabilities was 63.9 percent.
About eight in 10 people of working age with disabilities did not work or look for work last year, the Labor Department said. In comparison, about three in 10 people without disabilities were not in the labor force.
The data came from the Labor Department’s monthly household survey of 60,000 households.
Last year, 33 percent of workers with a disability were employed part time, compared with 19 percent of people without disabilities.
People with disabilities also were more likely to be self-employed than members of the workforce at large — 11 percent vs. 7 percent.
The survey emphasized that the incidence of disability increased with age. Last year, 46 percent of people with disabilities were age 65 or older, according to the department’s information.
Because women in general have longer life expectancies than men, older women represented a larger share of the population with disabilities.
As with the U.S. population at large, education affected employment levels. People with disabilities who had more education had lower jobless rates than those with less education.
The jobless rate was about the same for men and women with disabilities. Unemployment for blacks with disabilities was 20.8 percent; for Hispanics, 19 percent; for whites, 12.3 percent; and for Asians, 11.8 percent.