Veterans in the civilian labor force, 2011

November 09, 2012

In 2011, 21.6 million men and women in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 18 and over were veterans. About 11.3 million veterans were in the U.S. civilian labor force. 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 of the survey.
Number of military veterans in the U.S. civilian labor force by period of service and sex, 2011 annual averages
Number of military veterans in the U.S. civilian labor force by period of service and sex, 2011 annual averages
Period of serviceMenWomen

Gulf War era II

1,656,000281,000

Gulf War era I

2,121,000339,000

WW II, Korean War, and Vietnam era

3,441,000108,000

Other Service periods

2,986,000388,000

In 2011, about 2.4 million of the nation's veterans had served during Gulf War era II (defined as veterans who served anywhere in the world at any time since September 2001). About 17 percent of these veterans were women, compared with 3 percent of veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. About half of all Gulf War-era II veterans were between the ages of 25 and 34.

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 account for about one-half (10.4 million) of the total veteran population.

Percent of U.S. civilian labor force participants who are military veterans by age and sex, 2011 annual averages
Percent of U.S. civilian labor force participants who are military veterans by age and sex, 2011 annual averages
AgeMenWomen

18 to 24 years

1.80.4

25 to 34 years

6.21.2

35 to 44 years

10.12.0

45 to 54 years

14.22.2

55 to 64 years

22.61.7

65 years and over

42.61.2

Of the male labor force participants age 65 and over, 42.6 percent were veterans in 2011. At ages 55 to 64, the rate was 22.6 percent.

Employed veterans by class of worker and presence of service-connected disability, August 2011, percent distribution, not seasonally adjusted
Percent distribution of employed veterans by class of worker and presence of service-connected disability, August 2011, not seasonally adjusted
Presence of service-connected disabilityClass of worker
Agriculture and related industriesFederal GovernmentState and local governmentSelf-employed, unincorporated and unpaid family workersPrivate sector nonagricultural wage and salary workers

Without service-connected disability

2.86.312.76.971.3

With service-connected disability

0.818.415.26.159.5

In August 2011, about 3.0 million veterans, or 14 percent of the total, reported having a service-connected disability. (Some veterans did not report whether they had a service-connected disability.)

Regardless of period of service, many veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the public sector. In August 2011, 34 percent of employed veterans with a disability worked in federal, state, or local government, compared with 19 percent of veterans with no disability and 14 percent of nonveterans. About 18 percent of employed veterans with a disability worked for the federal government, compared with 6 percent of veterans with no disability and 2 percent of nonveterans.

These data are from the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of households that provides information on employment and unemployment in the United States. For more information, see "Employment Situation of Veterans — 2011" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-12-0493.

Veterans could have served anywhere in the world during these periods of service: Gulf War era II (September 2001-present), Gulf War era I (August 1990-August 2001), Vietnam era (August 1964-April 1975), Korean War (July 1950-January 1955), World War II (December 1941-December 1946), and other service periods (all other time periods). Veterans are counted in only one period of service, their most recent wartime period. Veterans who served in more than one wartime period are classified in the most recent one. Veterans who served in both a wartime period and any other service period are classified in the wartime period.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Veterans in the civilian labor force, 2011 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20121109.htm (visited April 24, 2014).

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