Employment Situation of Veterans Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, March 18, 2015                  USDL-15-0426

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


                         EMPLOYMENT SITUATION OF VETERANS -- 2014


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--declined by 1.8 percentage points over the year to 7.2 percent in 2014, 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate for all 
veterans, at 5.3 percent, also declined from a year earlier. In addition, 29 
percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected 
disability in August 2014, compared with 16 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 2014 annual averages presented 
in this news release. In August 2014, 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 2014 data:

--The unemployment rate for male veterans declined to 5.2 percent in 2014. The 
  rate for female veterans edged down to 6.0 percent. (See table A.) 

--Among the 573,000 unemployed veterans in 2014, 59 percent were age 45 and over. 
  Thirty-seven percent were age 25 to 44, and 4 percent were age 18 to 24. (See 
  table 2A.) 

--Veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 5.9 
  percent in August 2014, the same rate as for veterans with no disability. 
  (See table 7.) 

--Nearly 1 in 3 employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked in 
  the public sector in August 2014, compared with nearly 1 in 5 veterans with 
  no disability. (See table 8.) 

--In 2014, the unemployment rate of veterans varied by state, ranging from 1.4 
  percent in North Dakota to 8.5 percent in Maryland. (See table 6A.) 

The Veteran Population

In 2014, 21.2 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 
44 percent (9.4 million) of the total veteran population in 2014. Thirty-one 
percent of veterans (6.5 million) served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to 
August 2001) or Gulf War era II (September 2001 forward). Another quarter (5.3 
million) served outside the designated wartime periods. (See table 1.)

Gulf War-era II Veterans

In 2014, there were 3.2 million veterans who had served during Gulf War era II. 
Twenty percent of these veterans were women, compared with 4 percent of veterans 
from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. Nearly 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 rate for men declined from 8.8 
percent in 2013 to 6.9 percent in 2014.  The unemployment rate for women (8.5 
percent) in 2014 was not statistically different from the prior year (9.6 
percent). (See table A.)

The unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans (6.9 percent) was higher 
than the rate for male nonveterans (6.2 percent) in 2014.  In general, 
unemployment rates of male veterans and male nonveterans in the same age ranges 
were not statistically different. However, among men age 25 to 34, Gulf War-era 
II veterans had a higher unemployment rate (7.5 percent) than did nonveterans 
(6.3 percent). (See table 2B.)

Among women, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans (8.5 percent) 
was higher than the rate for nonveterans (5.9 percent) in 2014. By age, 
unemployment rates for female veterans and nonveterans were similar with one 
exception: 35-to 44-year-old female veterans had a rate of 9.0 percent, higher 
than the rate of 4.8 percent for their nonveteran counterparts. (See table 2C.) 

Veterans of Gulf War era II and nonveterans had similar occupational profiles 
in 2014 after accounting for gender. About one-third of employed veteran and
nonveteran men worked in management and professional occupations, a higher 
proportion than in any other major occupational group. Among employed women, 
just 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 2014 than employed nonveterans--25 percent and 14 percent, 
respectively. Among the employed, 14 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans worked 
for the federal government, compared with 2 percent of employed nonveterans. 
(See table 5.)

In August 2014, 36 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 8.4 percent, not 
statistically different from Gulf War-era II veterans who served elsewhere 
(7.8 percent). (See table 10.)

Gulf War-era I Veterans

Of the 3.4 million veterans who served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 
to August 2001), the proportion who were women (19 percent in 2014) was 
similar to that of Gulf War-era II veterans. Almost all (95 percent) Gulf 
War-era I veterans were age 35 and over in 2014, compared with 45 percent 
of Gulf War-era II veterans. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

In 2014, the unemployment rates for male and female Gulf War-era I veterans 
were 4.0 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, lower than the rates for 
their Gulf War-era II veteran counterparts (6.9 percent and 8.5 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 people--whether veterans or nonveterans--tend to have higher 
unemployment rates than older people. (See tables 2B and 2C.)

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

In 2014, there were 9.4 million veterans who had served during World War II, 
the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. All of these veterans were at least 
55 years old, and about three-fourths were at least 65 years old. Nearly all 
(96 percent) of these veterans were men. In 2014, 28.4 percent of male 
veterans of these wartime periods were in the labor force, and their 
unemployment rate was 5.0 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, 2A, and 2B.)

Veterans of Other Service Periods

In 2014, 5.3 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-five percent of these veterans 
were age 45 to 54 in 2014, and another 40 percent were age 65 and over. 
(See table 2A.)

In 2014, nearly 9 in 10 veterans of other service periods were men. Among 
veterans of other service periods, the unemployment rate for men was 5.3 
percent, not statistically different from the rate of 4.2 percent for women. 
(See tables 1, 2B, and 2C.)

Veterans with a Service-connected Disability

In August 2014, about 3.4 million veterans, or 16 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, one-third reported a 
disability rating of less than 30 percent, while another third had a rating 
of 60 percent or higher. In August 2014, veterans with a service-connected 
disability rating of less than 30 percent were much more likely to be in 
the labor force than those with a rating of 60 percent or higher (50.0 
percent and 32.6 percent, respectively).

Among veterans who served during Gulf War era II, nearly 3 in 10 (928,000) 
reported having a service-connected disability. Of these, 75.1 percent were 
in the labor force in August 2014, lower than the 85.6 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 9.1 percent, 
not statistically different from those with no disability (7.8 percent).

In August 2014, 17 percent (584,000) of veterans who served during Gulf 
War era I reported a service-connected disability. Their labor force 
participation rate (73.6 percent) was lower than the rate for veterans 
from the era who did not have a disability (87.2 percent). The unemployment 
rate for Gulf War-era I veterans with a service-connected disability was 
lower than that for Gulf War-era I veterans without a service-connected 
disability.

Among the 1.4 million veterans with a service-connected disability from 
World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era, 14.0 percent were in the 
labor force in August 2014, lower than the 29.2 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 6.0 percent, little different from their counterparts with no disability 
(5.8 percent).

In August 2014, labor force participation rates and unemployment rates for 
veterans of other service periods were similar for those with and without 
a service-connected disability.

Regardless of period of service, many veterans with a service-connected 
disability worked in the public sector. In August 2014, 31 percent of 
employed veterans with a disability worked in federal, state, or local 
government, compared with 18 percent of veterans with no disability and 
13 percent of nonveterans. Among the employed, 21 percent of veterans 
with a disability worked for the federal government, compared with 6 
percent of veterans with no disability and 2 percent of nonveterans. 
(See table 8.)

Reserve or National Guard Membership

In August 2014, 28 percent of Gulf War-era veterans (August 1990 to present) 
were reported to be current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard. 
Unemployment rates were not statistically different for veterans who were 
current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard compared with 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 (86.5 percent and 
77.8 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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  |                                                                    |
  |     Updated Veteran Weighting Methodology for Household Survey     |
  |                                                                    |
  |  Beginning with data for January 2014, estimates for veterans in   |
  |  this news release incorporate updated weighting procedures. The   |
  |  new weighting methodology more accurately reflects the current    |
  |  demographic composition of the veteran population. The primary    |
  |  impact of the change was an increase in the "Gulf War-era I"      |
  |  veteran population and a decrease in the number of veterans in    |
  |  the "Other service periods" category. The updated methodology     |
  |  had little effect on unemployment rates for veterans, regardless  |
  |  of gender or period of service. Additional information on the     |
  |  effect of the change on labor force estimates for veterans is     |
  |  available at www.bls.gov/cps/vetsweights2014.pdf.                 |
  |                                                                    |
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Last Modified Date: March 18, 2015