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  • In his State of the Union address on January 27, 2014, President Obama said the following:

    “The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone to get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all. So our job is to reverse these trends.”

     The President’s emphasis on wages and employment in his State of the Union address comes at a time when we at NCI are looking at the wages and employment of individuals with ID/DD who are working in community-based jobs and facility-based work. We are currently working on updating the 2012 data brief entitled “Working in the community: The status and outcomes of people with ID/DD in integrated employment” with more recent data.

     This blog post will give a quick snapshot of some of our findings. The full, updated data brief is available here.

     The information in this blog post is drawn from the 2011-12 National Core Indicators (NCI) administration of the Adult Consumer Survey (ACS) of 12,236 adults from 19 states and one sub-state entity. For the purposes of these analyses people under the age of 22 who were enrolled in public schools (or for whom this information could not be determined) were excluded.  11,803 adults remained in the sample. 

    Of the sample, only 13.4% of respondents were reported to have a paid community job. Comparatively, 21.1% were reported to participate in an unpaid community activity, 27.5% were reported to have a paid facility based job and 49.9% were reported to be in an unpaid facility based activity. Participation in these activities is not mutually exclusive, and there are individuals who participate in more than one type of work/activity.



    Percent of Sample (N=11803)

    Paid Community Job


    Unpaid Community Activity


    Paid Facility Based Job


    Unpaid Facility Based Activity



    Excluding individuals who live in institutions (because there were so few working in community jobs), we found that for people working in paid community-based employment, the three most common types of jobs were: building and grounds cleaning or maintenance (28.5%), retail such as sales clerk or stock person (14.1%), and food preparation and service (21.2%).  Less common were office jobs such as general office and administrative support (4.4%), assembly and manufacturing jobs (7.6%) and materials handling and mail distribution (2.1%).

    On average, people employed in paid community jobs (excluding those living in institutions) worked 27.2 hours in a two week period and earned $211.33 or $7.90 per hour. This is slightly above the federal minimum wage in 2012 of $7.25 per hour.

     On average, people employed in paid facility-based jobs worked 35.65 hours in a two week period and earned $63.46 or $2.35 per hour. This is well below the federal minimum wage in 2012 of $7.25 per hour.

    To put the wages earned by respondents to the ACS in perspective, we found the following data on US mean and median hourly wages. According to the May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage of employees from all industry sectors in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas in every State and the District of Columbia is $22.01 and the median hourly wage is $16.71.