Economic News Release

Employment Situation of Veterans Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, March 20, 2014                         USDL-14-0434

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  •  cpsinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov


                        EMPLOYMENT SITUATION OF VETERANS -- 2013


The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at
any time since September 2001--a group referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans--edged down
to 9.0 percent in 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless
rate for all veterans also edged down to 6.6 percent. Twenty-nine percent of Gulf War-era
II veterans reported having a service-connected disability in August 2013, compared with
15 percent of all veterans.

This information was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample
survey of about 60,000 households that provides data on employment and unemployment in
the United States. Data about veterans are collected monthly in the CPS; those monthly
data are the source of the 2013 annual averages presented in this news release. In August
2013, a supplement to the CPS collected additional information about veterans on topics
such as service-connected disability and veterans’ current or past Reserve or National
Guard membership. Information from the supplement is also presented in this release. The
supplement was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by the U.S.
Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service. For more information,
see the Technical Note, which provides definitions of terms used in this release.

Highlights from the 2013 data:

   --Among all veterans, the unemployment rate for women declined to 6.9 percent in
     2013. The rate for male veterans edged down to 6.5 percent. (See table A.)

   --Among the 722,000 unemployed veterans in 2013, 60 percent were age 45 and over.
     Thirty-five percent were age 25 to 44, and 5 percent were age 18 to 24. (See
     table 2A.)

   --Veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 6.2
     percent in August 2013, little different than the rate for veterans with no
     disability (6.6 percent). (See table 7.) 

   --One in 3 employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the
     public sector in August 2013, compared with 1 in 5 veterans with no disability.
     (See table 8.)

   --In 2013, the unemployment rate of veterans varied by state, ranging from over
     10 percent in Michigan and New Jersey to under 4 percent in Delaware, Iowa,
     North Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia. (See table 6A.)

The Veteran Population

In 2013, 21.4 million men and women, or 9 percent of the civilian noninstitutional
population age 18 and over, were veterans. In the survey, veterans are defined as men
and women who have previously served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and who
were civilians at the time these data were collected. Veterans are more likely to be
men and older than nonveterans. In part, this reflects the characteristics of veterans
who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. Veterans who
served during these wartime periods accounted for nearly one-half (9.8 million) of the
total veteran population in 2013. Over one quarter of veterans (6.1 million) served
during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001) or Gulf War era II (September 2001
forward). Another quarter (5.5 million) served outside the designated wartime periods.
(See table 1.)

Gulf War-era II Veterans

In 2013, about 2.8 million of the nation's veterans had served during Gulf War era II.
About 20 percent of these veterans were women, compared with 4 percent of veterans from
World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. Over half of all Gulf War-era II
veterans were between the ages of 25 and 34. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rates in 2013 for men (8.8 percent) and
women (9.6 percent) were not statistically different from the prior year (9.5 percent
and 12.5 percent, respectively). Among women, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II
veterans (9.6 percent) was higher in 2013 than the rate for nonveterans (6.8 percent).
(See tables A and 2C.)

The unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans (8.8 percent) was higher than
the rate for male nonveterans (7.5 percent) in 2013. The unemployment rates differed by
age. Male Gulf War-era II veterans age 18 to 24 had a higher unemployment rate than male
nonveterans of the same age group (24.3 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively). For 
those age 25 to 34, male veterans also had a higher rate than male nonveterans (9.2
percent and 7.5 percent, respectively). For men 35 and older, unemployment rates were
little different for Gulf War-era II veterans and nonveterans. (See table 2B.)

Veterans of Gulf War era II and nonveterans had similar occupational profiles in 2013
after accounting for gender. About one-third of the employed men in both groups worked
in management and professional occupations, a higher proportion than in any other major
occupational group. Among employed women, over 40 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans
and nonveterans worked in management and professional occupations. (See table 4.)

A higher proportion of employed Gulf War-era II veterans worked in the public sector in
2013 than employed nonveterans--28 percent and 14 percent, respectively. The federal
government employed 16 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans, compared with about 2 percent
of employed nonveterans. (See table 5.)

In August 2013, 40 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported serving in Iraq,
Afghanistan, or both. (Some veterans did not report their location of service.) These
veterans had an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent, little different from Gulf War-
era II veterans who served elsewhere (10.9 percent). (See table 10.)

Gulf War-era I Veterans

For the 3.2 million veterans who served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August
2001), the proportion that were women (19 percent in 2013) was similar to that of
Gulf War-era II veterans. Almost all Gulf War-era I veterans were age 35 and over
(91 percent) in 2013, compared with 41 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans. (See
tables 1 and 2A.)

In 2013, the unemployment rates for male and female Gulf War-era I veterans were 5.7
percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, lower than the rates for their Gulf War-era II
veteran counterparts (8.8 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively). These differences
in the unemployment rates reflect, at least in part, the older age profile of veterans
who served during Gulf War era I. Younger workers--whether veterans or nonveterans--are
more likely to be unemployed than older workers. Unemployment rates of Gulf War-era I
veterans were little different from their nonveteran counterparts of the same age and
gender groups. (See tables 2B and 2C.)

Veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Era

In 2013, about 9.8 million veterans were estimated to have served during World War II,
the Korean War, or the Vietnam era. All of these veterans were at least 55 years old,
and over 70 percent were at least 65 years old. Nearly all (96 percent) of these
veterans were men. In 2013, 30.0 percent of male veterans of these wartime periods
were in the labor force, and their unemployment rate was 6.5 percent. Male veterans
of these wartime periods had lower labor force participation rates than did male
nonveterans in the same age categories. (See tables 1 and 2B.)

Veterans of Other Service Periods

In 2013, about 5.5 million veterans had served on active duty during "other service
periods," mainly between the Korean War and the Vietnam era, and between the Vietnam
era and Gulf War era I. Because these veterans served between the major wartime
periods, which span several decades, this group is concentrated in two age ranges.
Thirty-eight percent of these veterans were 45 to 54 years old in 2013, and another
38 percent were 65 years and over. (See table 2A.)

About 9 in 10 veterans of other service periods were men in 2013. Among most age
groups, male veterans of service periods between the designated wartime periods had
unemployment rates that were little different than those of male nonveterans. (See
tables 1 and 2B.)

Veterans with a Service-connected Disability

In August 2013, about 3.2 million veterans, or 15 percent of the total, had a service-
connected disability. (Some veterans did not report whether they had a service-connected
disability.) Veterans with a service-connected disability are assigned a disability
rating by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Department of Defense.
Ratings range from 0 to 100 percent, in increments of 10 percentage points, depending
on the severity of the condition. (See table 7.)

Among veterans with a service-connected disability, 35 percent reported a disability
rating of less than 30 percent, while about 3 in 10 had a rating of 60 percent or
higher. In August 2013, veterans with a service-connected disability rating of less
than 30 percent were nearly twice as likely to be in the labor force as those with a
rating of 60 percent or higher (56.0 percent and 28.9 percent, respectively).

Among veterans who served during Gulf War era II, nearly 3 in 10 (827,000) reported
having a service-connected disability. Of these, 70.5 percent were in the labor force
in August 2013, lower than the labor force participation rate of 85.4 percent for
veterans from this period with no service-connected disability. Among Gulf War-era II
veterans, the unemployment rate of those with a disability was 8.6 percent, not
statistically different from those with no disability (11.1 percent).

In August 2013, nearly 20 percent (589,000) of veterans who served during Gulf War
era I reported a service-connected disability. Their labor force participation rate
(71.3 percent) was lower than the rate for veterans from the era who did not have a
disability (86.8 percent). Unemployment rates for Gulf War-era I veterans with and
without service-connected disabilities were not statistically different (4.1 percent
and 6.5 percent, respectively).

Among the 1.3 million veterans with a service-connected disability from World War II,
the Korean War, and the Vietnam era, 16.8 percent were in the labor force in August
2013, compared with 30.3 percent of veterans from these periods who did not have a
service-connected disability. The unemployment rate of veterans with a disability
from these wartime periods was 7.6 percent, not statistically different from their
counterparts with no disability (5.3 percent).

Veterans with a service-connected disability from other service periods had a labor
force participation rate of 55.5 percent in August 2013, compared with 56.2 percent
for veterans with no disability from these periods. Among veterans from other
service periods, the unemployment rates of those with and without service-connected
disabilities were not statistically different, at 2.7 percent and 5.3 percent,
respectively.

Regardless of period of service, many veterans with a service-connected disability
worked in the public sector. In August 2013, 31 percent of employed veterans with a
disability worked in federal, state, or local government, compared with 19 percent
of veterans with no disability and 13 percent of nonveterans. The federal government
employed 19 percent of veterans with a disability, compared with 7 percent of veterans
with no disability and 2 percent of employed nonveterans. (See table 8.)

Reserve or National Guard Membership

In August 2013, nearly 30 percent of both Gulf War-era I and Gulf War-era II veterans were
reported to be current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard. Unemployment
rates were similar for those veterans who were current or past members of the Reserve or
National Guard compared with those veterans who were never members. Among Gulf War-era II
veterans, those who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard had a
higher labor force participation rate than those who had never been members (85.4 percent
and 77.4 percent, respectively). For veterans of Gulf War-era I, labor force participation
rates were similar for members and nonmembers. (See table 9.)


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  |                                                                                    |
  |                    Adjustments to Veteran Population Estimates                     |
  |                                                                                    |
  |Effective with data for January 2013, estimates for veterans incorporate population |
  |controls derived from an updated Department of Veterans Affairs’ population model.  |
  |In accordance with usual practice, BLS did not revise estimates for previous years. |
  |Information about the updated veteran population model is available from the        |
  |Department of Veterans Affairs at http://www1.va.gov/vetdata/Veteran_Population.asp.|
  |                                                                                    |
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