Sheila Palma, Paulo Tobar, Northeastern University - Center for Labor Market Studies


In a previous research report in this series, the findings of the American Community Surveys for calendar years 2003 and 2004 were used to produce a detailed profile of the size and demographic/ socioeconomic characteristics of the 16-74 year old disabled population of the state. Comparisons of the findings for Massachusetts were made with those for the New England region and the U.S. Projections were made of the future size of the 55-74 year old disabled population in the state, and the implications of these projections for the vocational rehabilitation and workforce development systems of the state were briefly assessed. This report will continue by beginning with a brief review of the data sources and the labor force, employment, and earnings concepts and measures underlying all of the estimates appearing in this paper. The key disability concepts underlying our estimates of the disabled population also will be presented. These discussions of data sources and labor force/employment concepts and measures will be followed by a comprehensive review of the labor force participation behavior, unemployment rates, and employment rates of the 16-74 year old disabled and non-disabled population in Massachusetts, New England, and the U.S. in calendar years 2003 and 2004. Estimates also will be presented for an array of gender, age, race-ethnic, educational attainment, and nativity subgroups to illustrate how these labor force participation, unemployment, and employment rates vary across key demographic and socioeconomic subgroups, especially educational attainment. The descriptive analysis of the labor force participation and employment rates of the disabled population in Massachusetts will be supplemented by a multivariate statistical analysis of the determinants of the employment status of the disabled, including human capital variables, demographic variables, family background variables, and non-wage income variables, including other family income and personal property and transfer incomes. This multivariate statistical analysis will then be followed by a simulation exercise in which we will estimate how many more of the disabled in Massachusetts would have been employed in 2004 if the state were able to match the performance of the top five states in the nation in employing the disabled.


This report was published in June 2006 and was prepared for the Commonwealth Corporation and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission by the Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, MA.


disabled adults, employment analysis

Subject Categories

People with disabilities - Employement


Labor Economics


Northeastern University

Publication Date


Rights Holder

Northeastern University

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