Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Economics and People with Disabilities

Economics and People with Disabilities

The American economy is growing, according to the most recent statistics, at the sizzling rate of seven percent, and is in the middle of the largest peacetime expansion in American history. We read in the newspapers that practically everyone who wants a job can get one. Microsoft is running advertisements in the New York Times practically begging Congress to issue more visas for foreign computer and information technology workers.
In this environment, it is shocking that one group of Americans, people with disabilities, have such a high level of unemployment: 30 percent are not employed -- the same percentage as when the Americans With Disabilities Act became law. Recent research has confirmed that the economic expansion of the 1990s has significantly boosted the incomes of most working-age men and women without disabilities. But men and women with disabilities have been left behind, and did not share in the economic growth of the 1990s. Not only did their employment and labor earnings fall during the recession of the early 1990s, but employment and earnings continued to fall during the long economic expansion that followed. Many of these people are skilled professionals who are highly marketable in today's economy.


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