Turbo-Charged Trump Economy Is Boding Well for People with Disabilities

For those once left out of the labor market, companies are searching previously untapped sources to fill key positions — everyone wins

A smart employer is one that thinks outside the box for options when it comes to finding quality employees — and that includes workers with disabilities.

“I attended a recent panel composed of an advocate for hiring the disabled, a head of a non-for-profit and the diversity and inclusion leader of a large retailer,” said staff writer Rose Miller in Albany’s Times Union on Tuesday.

“The advocate for the disabled spoke about a population that is 75 percent unemployed but ready and able to work,” Miller continued. “He spoke of companies [that] took the leap of faith and found the individuals to be hardworking and reliable, with less absenteeism and lower turnover than the rest of the workforce.”

With the jobless rate at 3.8 percent — a near-50 year low — even folks with disabilities are starting to fare better in President Donald Trump’s turbo-charged economy, as companies work to fill job vacancies from untapped sources.

Numbers from the United States Labor Department demonstrate this. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report, released this month, indicates the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased from 29.2 percent in May 2017 to 29.7 percent in May 2018 — an increase of nearly two percent.

“Advocates say the labor shortage, coupled with [a] growing openness to workers with mental and physical limitations, has brought record numbers of people with disabilities into the workforce,” noted the Washington Post recently, “and it has also pushed employers to adopt more inclusive practices to support the new hires, such as longer and more hands-on training.”

The Post’s article, “She Cleaned for $3.49 an Hour. A Gas Station Just Offered Her $11.25,” gives more than just a glimpse into a robust economy. It suggests a shifting mindset toward those with physical and mental limitations and the value they present to employers.

“Firms are more likely now to reach out in places they’ve never reached out before,” Andrew Houtenville, research director of the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire, told Breitbart recently. “They’re also customizing jobs for people who might have previously been left out of the labor market.”

Also noteworthy: Over the past year the unemployment rate for workers with disabilities has dipped at a faster rate than among the general population, dropping from 9.5 percent to 7 percent, or 2.7 percentage points.

Related: How a Paramedic Went the Extra Mile for a Child in Need

It’s more than likely that President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” policy, which he signed into law last spring, is not only driving up wages, but playing a significant role in an ever-tightening job market — although you won’t find liberal outlets giving him the credit he and his administration deserve for this.

To the president’s credit, putting American workers first is starting to pay off — for employees across the board.

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.