The latest statewide Bureau of Developmental Services (BDS) Employment Data Report was released in mid-September, covering the period ending June 2013. The report shows a small upward trend in the number of people employed since last reporting period, with slight overall improvement in employment outcomes for individuals supported by the developmental services system in New Hampshire.

Compared to the previous quarter, the employment rate for people with disabilities was up slightly from 35.6% to 36.2%, with the number of people employed up from 1,335 to 1,368 (33 more people working). Average hourly wages were just slightly up from last quarter from $7.93 to $7.94, but are up almost 19 cents an hour from a year ago. The average number of hours worked per week is down slightly from 9.22 to 9.16.

Among the 10 Area Agencies, MDS ranked in the top tier in average hours worked per week and average weekly earnings. Of the more than 400 adults MDS serves, as of this summer 148 between the ages of 21-64 are employed. We want to add more people to this group. Starting this year, we have added employment goals to our contract with the State of New Hampshire’s Bureau of Developmental Services. We will measure progress based on certain statistics and outcomes, and will be compared with our peer agencies.

Overall, employment outcomes for people with disabilities are improving slowly, but there is still room for improvement on both a local and statewide basis. The average number of hours worked has remained steady at nine hours per week, with the greatest number of people working five hours or less per week. If you know of an employment opportunity, please contact Heather Prieto at MDS.

The full report is filled with valuable information for those interested in employment for people with disabilities, and is available on the DHHS website (click here).