Hiring People with Disabilities Eases the Labor Shortage

Employing more people with disabilities increases the talent pool.  It is hard to read a business publication these days without mention of “the labor shortage”.  US employers are continuing to comment on how hard it is to find good talent.
The U.S. has a Talent Shortage
But as the jobs reports come out monthly, more and more discussion is being raised about whether the country has reached “full employment”.  Which sounds like a good thing, except for monetary policy and companies who have open positions to fill.  The laws of supply and demand state that as supply shrinks, and demand stays steady or grows, prices will go up.  So rather than raising wages as a response to a tighter labor pool, why not increase the size of the pool and equalize supply and demand?
Recruiting People with Disabilities Increases the Talent Pool
Cornell University keeps several big data sources tracking people with disabilities, and estimates there are between 11.4M and 13.3M unemployed people with disabilities of working age.  That is a big labor pool not currently counted as “unemployed” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (which currently shows 7.9M unemployed)!  Of course, not all of them are an exact match to the skill sets you seek, but odds are that you will find quite a few candidates worth considering in this hidden labor pool.
Why aren’t They Already in the Labor Market?
It isn’t because they are unable to work.  In most cases people with disabilities have given up hope that anyone would want to hire them.  Unfortunately, people with disabilities still experience discrimination and that disheartening experience leads to hesitation to continue to seek employment.
Can Your Company Really Afford to Remain Skeptical of this Group? 
Each week, more stories are published mentioning another company that is embarking on recruiting people with disabilities, and stories of their success.  It is easy to ignore this vast group of potential employees if your company has more qualified candidates than openings.  Does that describe you?  If not, maybe you should weigh the economics of raising wages to compete with your competitors hiring for similar positions, and then start recruiting people with disabilities to find a better use of your resources.
NOTE: As originally posted on Deb Russel Inc