IJERPH, Vol. 20, Pages 6036: Unemployment and Job Search Behavior among People with Disabilities during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Not much is known about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the labor market experiences of people with disabilities. Since they constitute a generally disadvantaged group in the labor market, it is important to scrutinize whether their position has worsened during these difficult times and how they reacted with regard to their job search behavior. We therefore used data for the year 2020 from a large German panel (Panel Arbeitsmarkt und Soziale Sicherung, PASS), in order to scrutinize the prevalence of unemployment among people with disabilities (N = 739) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The factors that affected their unemployment status were also analyzed. The study found that people with legally recognized disabilities were more often unemployed than non-disabled people, even when controlling for possible confounding factors such as age, gender, or education. This effect was significant for severe disabilities and marginally significant for minor disabilities. Additionally, the type of disability affected the probability of being unemployed, with cardiovascular diseases, mental illnesses, and musculoskeletal disorders carrying a higher risk. In terms of job-seeking behavior, unemployed people with disabilities reported using some job search methods more frequently than their non-disabled counterparts. However, the intensity of the job search did not differ significantly between the two groups. Further differences were found when analyzing the reasons for abstinence from searching for a job, with unemployed people with disabilities primarily citing health-related factors (with a frequency of over 90%). In summary, health played a pivotal role in determining disabled people’s labor market experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.