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About the Data

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The Florida Disability Unemployment Statistics series combines multiple data sources to produce aggregate estimates of the unemployment rate, employment-population ratio, and labor force participation rate for persons with a disability in the state of Florida. While the estimates retain some short-term volatility, they are designed to be comparable, across longer-term periods, to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) estimates for the general population. 

Please note that these estimates are experimental, and may be subject to change in the future.

Methodology Overview 

The Disability Unemployment Statistics estimates include inputs from multiple data sources sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Florida’s Current Population Survey (CPS), the national CPS totals, and the American Community Survey (ACS) for the state of Florida. Each source provides an independent estimate of the number of people with a disability in Florida who are unemployed, employed, or not in the labor force each month. Estimates are derived by taking the proportion of each of these components who report having a disability and multiplying that proportion by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) estimate for the total number of people in that employment category. One additional estimate is derived from the 12-month moving average of the proportion of people with a disability in each category in Florida’s CPS data, and another estimate from the prior month’s final estimate, for a total of 5 estimated values for each component.

The final values come from averaging each of these estimates (with a bias adjustment for estimators that demonstrate a statistically significant difference in means from the Florida CPS values) and then controlling the averages to a total set equal to the 12-month moving average of the total number of persons with a disability in Florida as estimated by this method.

A full description is available here: Disability Statistics Estimation (PDF).

Definition of Disability

These estimates use the U.S. Census Bureau's definition of disability status as employed in the CPS and ACS programs.  These surveys rely on respondents to self-report disability based on several specific questions pertaining to disability status as defined by risk of a participation limitation due to a functional impairment.

These questions do not reflect all forms of disability, and as such are not an estimate of the total size of the disability population.  The total population implied by these monthly estimates will typically be smaller than that derived from other, more comprehensive definitions of disability status.

In the ACS and CPS questionnaires, persons are categorized as having a disability if the survey respondent answered “Yes” to any of the following questions about persons in their household:

  • Is anyone deaf or does anyone have serious difficulty hearing?
  • Is anyone blind or does anyone have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?
  • Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?
  • Does anyone have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
  • Does anyone have difficulty dressing or bathing?
  • Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping?

Please see this U.S. Census publication for information on the process used to develop these questions, and see the BLS Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the CPS disability data and its limitations in general.