Do We Count People Collecting Disability as Unemployed?

Jul 20, 2023 | Macro Insights, No Bull Economics

Working Age Disability Post Banner

It’s hard to believe that 16% of the working-age population is out on disability. Should these people be considered unemployed? If so, this provides an entirely different impression of the labor market.


  • As people on federal disability do not work, they are not technically part of the labor force & are not counted among the unemployed.
  • A disability diagnosis (for complaints like back pain & mental illness) is typically made by doctors & the courts. Notably, as the federal government pays for people on disability, states can save money by shifting people from welfare to disability.
  • In any case, the bottom graphic reveals a real epidemic of obesity in this country & certainly this must represent a key contributor to the country’s enormous & troubling disability rate.
  • Common sense efforts to improve the country’s diet, lifestyle choices & exercise routines could represent one of the most important strategies for improving the strength of our workforce & economy.   
Working Age Disability Graph

Self Reported Obesity Graphic

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