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Economic News Release
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Employment Situation of Veterans Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, April 21, 2022                           USDL-22-0675

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


			 EMPLOYMENT SITUATION OF VETERANS -- 2021


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
to 4.6 percent in 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless
rate for all veterans decreased to 4.4 percent in 2021. In August 2021, 44 percent of 
Gulf War-era II veterans had a service-connected disability, compared with 27 percent of
all veterans. 

This information was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample
survey of about 60,000 eligible households that provides data on employment, unemployment,
and persons not in the labor force in the United States. Data about veterans are collected
monthly in the CPS; these monthly data are the source of the 2021 annual averages 
presented in this news release. In August 2021, 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. The supplement was 
co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Labor's
Veterans' Employment and Training Service. For more information, see the Technical Note in
this news release. 

Highlights from the 2021 data:

 --The unemployment rate for all veterans (4.4 percent) was lower than the rate for 
   nonveterans (5.3 percent) in 2021. (See table A.)

 --Unemployment rates for both male and female veterans decreased in 2021. The rate for
   male veterans was 4.4 percent, little different from the rate of 4.2 percent for female
   veterans. (See table A.)

 --Unemployment rates declined over the year for veterans of all service periods: Gulf 
   War-era II veterans (to 4.6 percent in 2021); Gulf War-era I veterans (3.5 percent); 
   World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam era veterans (4.4 percent); and veterans of other 
   service periods (5.0 percent). However, these rates remain above their levels in 2019,
   prior to the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (See table 1.)

 --Unemployment rates for White and Black veterans were lower than for their nonveteran
   counterparts in 2021, while the rates for Asian and Hispanic veterans were not 
   statistically different than their nonveteran counterparts. (See table 1.)

 --Among the 386,000 unemployed veterans in 2021, 56 percent were ages 25 to 54, 39 
   percent were age 55 and over, and 5 percent were ages 18 to 24. (See table 2A.)

 --Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate of veterans with a service-
   connected disability declined to 3.2 percent and the rate for veterans with no 
   disability decreased to 3.6 percent in August 2021. (See table 7.)

 --Gulf War-era II veterans who reported 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 in August 2021 (94.4 percent compared with 63.8 
   percent). (See table 7.)

 --In August 2021, 27 percent of employed veterans with a service-connected disability
   worked in the public sector, compared with 21 percent of veterans with no disability
   and 13 percent of nonveterans. (See table 8.)

 --In 2021, the unemployment rate of veterans varied across the country, ranging from
   1.6 percent in Kentucky to 7.6 percent in Washington. (See table 6A.)

The Veteran Population

In 2021, 18.5 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about 7 percent of 
the civilian noninstitutional population age 18 and over. Of all veterans, about 1 in
10 were women. 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 much more likely to be men than are nonveterans, and
they also tend to be older. In part, this reflects the characteristics of veterans who
served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era, all of whom are now 
over 60 years old. Veterans who served during these wartime periods accounted for about
36 percent (6.6 million) of the total veteran population in 2021. Forty-two percent of
veterans (7.9 million) served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001) or 
Gulf War era II (September 2001 to present). Twenty-two percent (4.1 million) served 
outside the designated wartime periods. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

Gulf War-era II Veterans 

In 2021, there were 4.7 million veterans who had served during Gulf War era II (September
2001 to present). Seventeen percent of these veterans were women, compared with about 4
percent of veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. Two-thirds of
all Gulf War-era II veterans were between the ages of 25 and 44. (See tables 1 and 2A.) 

In 2021, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans was 4.6 percent, down 
considerably from the rate in 2020 (7.3 percent) but up from 2019 (3.5 percent), prior to
the COVID-19 pandemic. Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rates for men and
women both declined in 2021 (to 4.6 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively). These rates 
were not statistically different from each other. (See table A.) 

The unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans, at 4.6 percent, was lower than 
the rate for male nonveterans, at 5.5 percent, in 2021. By age, unemployment rates for 
male Gulf War-era II veterans and nonveterans were not statistically different, with one
exception: 45- to 54-year-old male Gulf War-era II veterans had an unemployment rate of
2.6 percent, lower than the rate of 4.2 percent for their nonveteran counterparts. 
(See table 2B.) 

The unemployment rate for female Gulf War-era II veterans was 4.9 percent in 2021, not 
statistically different from the rate for female nonveterans (5.1 percent). By age, 
unemployment rates for female Gulf War-era II veterans and nonveterans were not 
statistically different. (See table 2C.)

Employed Gulf War-era II veterans were twice as likely to work in the public sector in
2021 as employed nonveterans--27 percent versus 13 percent. Among the employed, 15 
percent of Gulf War-era II veterans worked for the federal government, compared with 
2 percent of nonveterans. (See table 5.) 

In August 2021, 41 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported serving in Iraq, 
Afghanistan, or both locations. These veterans had an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent,
not statistically different than the rate for Gulf War-era II veterans who served 
elsewhere (3.6 percent). (See table 10.)

Gulf War-era I Veterans

In 2021, of the 3.2 million veterans who served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to
August 2001), the proportion who were women (16 percent) was similar to that for Gulf
War-era II veterans (17 percent). All Gulf War-era I veterans were age 35 and over in 
2021, compared with 62 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans. Forty-eight percent of Gulf 
War-era I veterans were ages 45 to 54, 26 percent were ages 55 to 64, 15 percent were 
ages 35 to 44, and 11 percent were age 65 and over. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era I veterans was 3.5 percent in 2021, down by 1.3 
percentage points from 2020. The jobless rate for Gulf War-era I veterans in 2021 was 
above its pre-pandemic rate of 2.6 percent in 2019. 

In 2021, the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era I veterans (3.6 percent) was lower 
than that of their Gulf War-era II counterparts (4.6 percent). The difference in 
unemployment rates reflects, 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. The rate for female Gulf War-era I 
veterans (3.0 percent) was lower than the rate for female Gulf War-era II veterans (4.9 
percent). Among Gulf War-era I veterans, the unemployment rate declined for both men and
women in 2021; the rates for men and women were not statistically different. (See tables
2B and 2C.)

Veterans of Other Service Periods 

In 2021, 4.1 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. All veterans from this period of service were age 45 and over at the time of
the survey. Fifty percent of these veterans were ages 55 to 64, 42 percent were age 65
and over, and 8 percent were ages 45 to 54. In 2021, 1 in 10 veterans of other service 
periods were women. (See table 2A.) 

The jobless rate for veterans of other service periods declined over the year to 5.0 
percent in 2021 but remains higher than the rate in 2019 (3.0 percent). Among veterans
of other service periods, the unemployment rate for men (5.1 percent) was not 
statistically different from the rate for women (4.2 percent) in 2021. The jobless rate
for male veterans of other service periods declined over the year, while the rate for 
women was little different from the prior year. (See table 1.)

Veterans with a Service-connected Disability

In August 2021, 4.9 million veterans, or 27 percent of the total, 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.) 

The unemployment rate for veterans with a service-connected disability declined by 2.8 
percentage points to 3.4 percent in August 2021. The rate for veterans with no 
disability declined to 4.1 percent and was not statistically different from the rate for
veterans with a service-connected disability. The unemployment rates for male and female
veterans with a service-connected disability also declined over the year to 3.5 percent
and 2.8 percent, respectively, in August 2021. These rates were not statistically 
different from each other. The labor force participation rate for veterans with a 
service-connected disability (49.7 percent) was higher than the rate for veterans with
no disability (44.9 percent). 

Among veterans with a service-connected disability, 23 percent reported a disability 
rating of less than 30 percent, while 47 percent had a rating of 60 percent or higher. 
In August 2021, 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 (56.9 percent versus 43.0 percent). The unemployment rate for veterans
with a disability rating of less than 30 percent was 4.1 percent, little different than
the rate for those with a disability rating of 60 percent or higher, at 4.3 percent.

Among veterans who served during Gulf War era II, 44 percent (2.0 million) reported a
service-connected disability in August 2021. The labor force participation rate of all
Gulf War-era II veterans with a service-connected disability was 72.9 percent, lower than
the rate for veterans from this period with no service-connected disability (84.3
percent). Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate for those with a service-
connected disability was 3.2 percent, not statistically different from those with no 
disability (3.6 percent). 

Among Gulf War-era II veterans with a service-connected disability, 15 percent reported
a disability rating of less than 30 percent and 56 percent reported a disability rating
of 60 percent or higher in August 2021. Gulf War-era II veterans who reported a 
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 (94.4 percent compared with 63.8 
percent). The unemployment rate for veterans with a disability rating of less than 30
percent was 4.9 percent in August 2021, not statistically different than the rate for
those with a disability rating of 60 percent or higher, at 3.7 percent.

In August 2021, 31 percent (932,000) of veterans who served during Gulf War era I 
reported a service-connected disability. Their labor force participation rate (63.3 
percent) was lower than the rate for Gulf War-era I veterans who did not have a service-
connected disability (78.6 percent). The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era I veterans 
with a service-connected disability (2.1 percent) was lower than the rate for those 
without a service-connected disability (4.5 percent).

Fourteen percent (540,000) of veterans who served during other service periods reported
a service-connected disability in August 2021. The labor force participation rate of 
these veterans (35.4 percent) was lower than their counterparts without a service-
connected disability (41.2 percent). The unemployment rates were not statistically
different for veterans with a service-connected disability (8.7 percent) and those with
no disability (5.1 percent).

Regardless of period of service, many veterans with a service-connected disability 
worked in the public sector. In August 2021, 27 percent of employed veterans with a 
service-connected disability worked in federal, state, or local government, compared 
with 21 percent of veterans with no disability and 13 percent of nonveterans. Eighteen
percent of employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked for the federal 
government, compared with 9 percent of veterans with no disability and 2 percent of
nonveterans. (See table 8.)

Reserve and National Guard Membership

In August 2021, 37 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans were current or past members of
the Reserve or National Guard. The labor force participation rate was higher for 
veterans of this period who were current or past members of the Reserve or National 
Guard (82.8 percent) than for veterans who had never been members (77.1 percent). Among
Gulf War-era II veterans, those who were current or past members of the Reserve or
National Guard had an unemployment rate (2.0 percent) that was lower than the rate for
those who had never been members (4.0 percent). (See table 9.)


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|                      Adjustments to Veteran Population Estimates                      |
|											|
| Effective with data for January 2021, estimates for veterans incorporate population 	|
| controls derived from the Department of Veterans Affairs' new veteran population 	|
| model. In accordance with usual practice, BLS did not revise estimates for previous 	|
| years. Information about the Veteran Population Projection Model (VetPop2018) is 	|
| available from the Department of Veterans Affairs at 					|
| www.va.gov/vetdata/docs/Demographics/New_Vetpop_Model/VP_18_A_Brief_Description.pdf.  |
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|             Imputed Data for Veterans Who Served Prior to the Vietnam Era             |
|											|
| Due to a programming error in the August 2021 survey instrument, information on the 	|
| presence and severity of a service-connected disability was not obtained for veterans |
| who served in periods prior to the Vietnam era (August 1964-April 1975). Veterans 	|
| whose service included the Vietnam era were asked the questions, even if they also 	|
| served in earlier periods. Missing data for individuals whose service ended before 	|
| August 1964 were imputed using information collected in the August 2020 Veterans 	|
| Supplement. This imputation had a limited effect on the overall estimates of veterans |
| with a service-connected disability because veterans of periods prior to the Vietnam  |
| era were a relatively small share of total veterans in August 2021. However, the 	|
| imputations have a larger impact on the presence and severity of a service-connected  |
| disability for veterans of the WW II, Korean War, and Vietnam era in addition to 	|
| veterans of the other service periods group. Users should be mindful of the presence  |
| of imputed data for these categories when they appear on tables 7 and 8 of this news  |
| release. The programming error did not affect any other data series in this news 	|
| release.										|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|



Last Modified Date: April 21, 2022