Disabled veterans and the labor force

March 17, 2010

In August 2009, about 2.8 million veterans, or 13 percent of the total, reported having a service-connected disability. (Some veterans did not report whether they had a service-connected disability.)

Population of veterans 18 years and over by presence of service-connected disability and reported disability rating, August 2009, not seasonally adjusted
[Chart data]

Veterans with a service-connected disability are assigned a disability rating by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Ratings range from 0 to 100 percent, in increments of 10 percentage points, depending on the severity of the condition. About 4 in 10 disabled veterans reported a disability rating of less than 30 percent, while about 1 in 4 had a rating of 60 percent or higher.

Among veterans who served in Gulf War era II, about 21 percent reported having a service-connected disability. Of these, 80.5 percent were in the labor force, compared with 87.2 percent of nondisabled veterans from this period.

Labor force participation rates, veterans 18 years and over, by presence of service-connected disability, August 2009, not seasonally adjusted
[Chart data]

About 18 percent of veterans who served during Gulf War era I reported a service-connected disability. Their labor force participation rate (77.8 percent) was lower than the rate for veterans from the era who did not have a disability (92.8 percent).

Among the 1.4 million disabled veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era, 28.8 percent were in the labor force in August 2009, compared with 37.0 percent of veterans from these periods who did not have a service-connected disability.

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is the source of these data. In the CPS, 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 they were surveyed. To learn more, see "Employment Situation of Veterans: 2009," news release (HTML) (PDF) USDL 10-0285.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Disabled veterans and the labor force on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2010/ted_20100317.htm (visited September 30, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.