Employment Situation of Veterans Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, March 22, 2018                       USDL-18-0453

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


                            EMPLOYMENT SITUATION OF VETERANS -- 2017


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 4.5 percent in 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
The jobless rate for all veterans declined from 4.3 percent to 3.7 percent in 2017.
About 41 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans had a service-connected disability in
August 2017, compared with 24 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; these monthly data are the source of the 2017 annual averages presented in this
news release. In August 2017, 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 2017 data:

   --The unemployment rate for male veterans (3.6 percent) declined over the year,
     and the rate for female veterans (4.1 percent) changed little in 2017. The
     unemployment rate for male veterans was not statistically different from the
     rate for female veterans. (See table A.)

   --Among the 370,000 unemployed veterans in 2017, 59 percent were age 25 to 54,
     37 percent were age 55 and over, and 4 percent were age 18 to 24. (See
     table 2A.)

   --Veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 4.3
     percent in August 2017, little different from veterans with no disability
     (4.5 percent). (See table 7.)

   --About 1 in 3 employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked in
     the public sector in August 2017, compared with about 1 in 5 veterans with no
     disability. (See table 8.)

   --In 2017, the unemployment rate of veterans varied across the country, ranging
     from 1.7 percent in Maine and Vermont to 7.3 percent in Rhode Island. (See
     table 6A.)

The Veteran Population

In 2017, 20.4 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about 8 percent of
the civilian noninstitutional population age 18 and over. About 10 percent of all
veterans 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 more likely to be men than were
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 39 percent (8.1 million) of the total veteran population in 2017.
Thirty-six percent of veterans (7.4 million) served during Gulf War era I (August 1990
to August 2001) or Gulf War era II (September 2001 forward). About a quarter (4.9
million) served outside the designated wartime periods. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

Gulf War-era II Veterans

In 2017, there were 4.1 million veterans who had served during Gulf War era II
(September 2001 forward). 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. Seventy percent of all Gulf War-era II veterans were between the ages of 25 and
44. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate for men was not statistically
different from the rate for women in 2017. The unemployment rate for men edged down
to 4.3 percent in 2017. The rate for women, at 5.5 percent, was essentially unchanged
from the prior year. (See table A.)

In 2017, the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans, at 4.3 percent, was
the same as the rate for male nonveterans. Among men age 25 to 34, Gulf War-era II
veterans had a higher unemployment rate (6.0 percent) than did nonveterans (4.5
percent). Among men age 45 to 54, however, Gulf War-era II veterans had a lower
unemployment rate (1.5 percent) than did nonveterans (3.1 percent). (See table 2B.)

Among women, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans (5.5 percent) was
higher than the rate for nonveterans (4.1 percent) in 2017. By age, unemployment
rates for female veterans and nonveterans were similar, with one exception: 25- to
34-year-old female veterans had a rate of 8.0 percent, higher than the rate of 4.5
percent for their nonveteran counterparts. (See table 2C.)

Employed Gulf War-era II veterans were about twice as likely to work in the public
sector in 2017 as employed nonveterans--27 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
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 2017, 47 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported serving in Iraq,
Afghanistan, or both locations. These veterans had an unemployment rate of 4.4
percent, little different from Gulf War-era II veterans who served elsewhere
(4.5 percent). (See table 10.)

Gulf War-era I Veterans

Of the 3.3 million veterans who served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August
2001), the proportion who were women (15 percent in 2017) was similar to that of
Gulf War-era II veterans (17 percent). Nearly all (99 percent) Gulf War-era I
veterans were age 35 and over in 2017, compared with 54 percent of Gulf War-era II
veterans. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

In 2017, the unemployment rates for male and female Gulf War-era I veterans were
3.0 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, lower than the rates for their Gulf
War-era II veteran counterparts (4.3 percent and 5.5 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. (See tables 2B and 2C.)

Veterans of Other Service Periods

In 2017, 4.9 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 45 years or
older at the time of the survey. Twenty-two percent of these veterans were age 45
to 54 in 2017, another 39 percent were age 55 to 64, and another 39 percent were
age 65 and over. (See table 2A.)

In 2017, 1 in 10 veterans of other service periods were women. Among veterans of
other service periods, the unemployment rate for men (3.2 percent) was little
different than the rate for women (2.7 percent). (See table 1.)

Veterans with a Service-connected Disability

In August 2017, about 4.9 million veterans, or 24 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 was 4.3 percent
in August 2017, little different than the rate for veterans with no disability (4.5
percent). The labor force participation rate for veterans with a service-connected
disability (48.4 percent) was not statistically different than the rate for veterans
with no disability (49.2 percent).

Among veterans with a service-connected disability, 28 percent reported a disability
rating of less than 30 percent, while another 41 percent had a rating of 60 percent
or higher. In August 2017, 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 (53.5 percent and 37.7 percent, respectively). The
unemployment rate for veterans with a disability rating of less than 30 percent was
3.3 percent, not statistically different than for those with a disability rating of
60 percent or higher (4.8 percent).

Among veterans who served during Gulf War era II, 41 percent (1.7 million) reported
a service-connected disability and nearly half of these veterans had a service-
connected disability rating of 60 percent or higher. In August 2017, 75.8 percent of
all Gulf War era II veterans with a service-connected disability were in the labor
force, lower than the 85.5 percent for veterans from this period with no service-
connected disability. Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate for
those with a service-connected disability was 3.9 percent, not statistically
different from those with no disability (4.8 percent).

In August 2017, 28 percent (946,000) of veterans who served during Gulf War era I
reported a service-connected disability. Their labor force participation rate was
lower (65.6 percent) than the rate for veterans from the era who did not have a
disability (85.9 percent). The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era I veterans with a
service-connected disability (4.3 percent) was not statistically different than that
for Gulf War-era I veterans without a service-connected disability (2.8 percent).

Among the 1.7 million veterans with a service-connected disability from World War II,
the Korean War, and the Vietnam era, 15.4 percent were in the labor force in August
2017, lower than the 23.1 percent of veterans from these periods who did not have a
service-connected disability. The unemployment rate of veterans from these wartime
periods with a service-connected disability was 3.9 percent, lower than their
counterparts with no disability (7.9 percent).

Thirteen percent (633,000) of veterans who served during other service periods reported
a service-connected disability in August 2017. The labor force participation rate of
these veterans (38.6 percent) was lower than their counterparts without a service-
connected disability (48.3 percent), while the unemployment rate was not statistically
different for veterans with a service-connected disability (6.7 percent) and those with
no disability (3.6 percent).

Regardless of period of service, many veterans with a service-connected disability
worked in the public sector. In August 2017, 33 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. Nineteen percent of employed
veterans with a disability worked for the federal government, compared with 7 percent
of veterans with no disability and 2 percent of nonveterans. (See table 8.)

Reserve and National Guard Membership

In August 2017, about one-third of Gulf War-era veterans (August 1990 to present) were
current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard. Labor force participation
rates were higher for veterans who were current or past members of the Reserve or
National Guard (82.4 percent), compared with veterans who were never members (79.4
percent). Among Gulf War-era veterans, those who were current or past members of the
Reserve or National Guard had a lower unemployment rate than those who had never been
members (2.5 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively). (See table 9.)


   _____________________________________________________________________________
  |                                                                             |
  |                Adjustments to Veteran Population Estimates                  |
  |                                                                             |
  |Effective with data for November 2017, 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     |
  |www.va.gov/vetdata/docs/Demographics/New_Vetpop_Model/Vetpop16_Overview.pdf. |
  |_____________________________________________________________________________|



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Last Modified Date: March 22, 2018