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Economic News Release
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Employment Situation of Veterans Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, March 19, 2020				USDL-20-0452

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

(NOTE: Population controls used in the weighting of state data for veterans and
nonveterans in tables 6A and 6B of the Employment Situation of Veterans 2019 news
release were incorrect. All differences were minor and not statistically significant,
and have been corrected as of April 22, 2020.)


			    EMPLOYMENT SITUATION OF VETERANS -- 2019


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--was 3.5 percent in
2019, little changed from 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The
jobless rate for all veterans declined in 2019 to 3.1 percent. In August 2019, 41 percent of
Gulf War-era II veterans had a service-connected disability, compared with 25 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 2019 annual averages presented
in this news release. In August 2019, 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 news release. 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 2019 data:

   --The unemployment rate for male veterans declined to 3.0 percent in 2019, and the rate
     for female veterans (3.7 percent) changed little over the year. The unemployment rate
     for male veterans was not statistically different from the rate for female veterans.
     (See table A.)

   --Among the 284,000 unemployed veterans in 2019, 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.) 

   --Veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent in
     August 2019, not statistically different from the rate for veterans with no disability
     (3.7 percent). (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 (92.2 percent, compared with 61.2 percent in August 2019). (See 
     table 7.)

   --In August 2019, 31 percent of employed veterans with a service-connected disability
     worked in the public sector, compared with 17 percent of veterans with no disability and
     13 percent of nonveterans. (See table 8.)

   --In 2019, the unemployment rate of veterans varied across the country, ranging from 0.9 
     percent in Maryland to 6.1 percent in Montana. (See table 6A.)

The Veteran Population

In 2019, 18.8 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about 8 percent of the
civilian noninstitutional population age 18 and over. Of all veterans, 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 38 percent (7.2 million) of the total veteran population in 2019.
Thirty-nine percent of veterans (7.4 million) served during Gulf War-era I (August 1990 to
August 2001) or Gulf War-era II (September 2001 to present). Twenty-two percent (4.2 million)
served outside the designated wartime periods. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

Gulf War-era II Veterans

In 2019, there were 4.3 million veterans who had served during Gulf War-era II (September 2001
to present). Seventeen percent of these veterans were women, compared with 3.5 percent of
veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. About two-thirds 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 (3.4 percent) was lower than the
rate for women (4.7 percent) in 2019. The unemployment rates for men and women were little
changed over the year. (See table A.)

In 2019, the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans, at 3.4 percent, was little
different from the rate for male nonveterans, at 3.7 percent. Among men ages 25 to 34, Gulf 
War-era II veterans had a lower unemployment rate (3.1 percent) than did nonveterans (3.8
percent). Among men ages 35 to 44, however, Gulf War-era II veterans had a higher unemployment
rate (3.6 percent) than did nonveterans (2.5 percent). (See table 2B.)

The unemployment rate for female Gulf War-era II veterans was 4.7 percent in 2019, higher than
the rate for female nonveterans (3.5 percent). By age, unemployment rates for female Gulf 
War-era II veterans and nonveterans were not statistically different, with one exception:
35- to 44-year-old female Gulf War-era II veterans had a rate of 5.0 percent, higher than the
rate of 2.9 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
2019 as employed nonveterans--25 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 2019, 42 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported serving in Iraq, Afghanistan,
or both locations. These veterans had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, little different
from the rate for Gulf War-era II veterans who served elsewhere (4.8 percent). (See table 10.)

Gulf War-era I Veterans

In 2019, of the 3.1 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 of Gulf War-era II veterans (17 percent). 
All Gulf War-era I veterans were age 35 and over in 2019, compared with 57 percent of Gulf War-era II 
veterans. Nearly half of Gulf War-era I veterans were ages 45 to 54, 22 percent were ages 35 to 44, 
22 percent were ages 55 to 64, and 10 percent were age 65 and over. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

In 2019, the unemployment rates for male and female Gulf War-era I veterans were little 
different (2.7 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively). The rates for male and female Gulf
War-era I veterans were lower than those of their Gulf War-era II counterparts, at 3.4 percent
for male Gulf War-era II veterans and 4.7 percent for female Gulf War-era II veterans. 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 2019, 4.2 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.
Thirteen percent of these veterans were ages 45 to 54 in 2019, 48 percent were ages 55 to 64,
and 39 percent were age 65 and over. (See table 2A.) 

In 2019, 1 in 10 veterans of other service periods were women. Among veterans of other service
periods, the unemployment rate for men (2.8 percent) was not statistically different from the
rate for women (3.9 percent). The rate for men declined over the year, while the rate for women
was little different. (See table 1.)

Veterans with a Service-connected Disability

In August 2019, 4.7 million veterans, or 25 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 4.8 percent in
August 2019, not statistically different from the rate for veterans with no disability (3.7 
percent). The labor force participation rate for veterans with a service-connected disability
(47.5 percent) was also not statistically different from the rate for veterans with no 
disability (48.1 percent).

Among veterans with a service-connected disability, 26 percent reported a disability rating 
of less than 30 percent, while another 44 percent had a rating of 60 percent or higher. In 
August 2019, 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
(53.8 percent and 40.8 percent, respectively). The unemployment rate for veterans with a
disability rating of less than 30 percent was 3.0 percent, lower than the rate for those with
a disability rating of 60 percent or higher (8.6 percent).

Among veterans who served during Gulf War-era II, 41 percent (1.8 million) reported a 
service-connected disability in August 2019. In August 2019, 72.7 percent of all Gulf War-era
II veterans with a service-connected disability were in the labor force, lower than the 84.8
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 5.5 
percent, not statistically different from those with no disability (4.4 percent). 

Among Gulf War-era II veterans with a service-connected disability, 17 percent reported a 
disability rating of less than 30 percent and another 55 percent reported a disability rating
of 60 percent or higher in August 2019. 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 (92.2 percent, compared with 61.2 percent). The unemployment
rate for veterans with a disability rating of less than 30 percent was 2.3 percent in August
2019, much lower than the rate for those with a disability rating of 60 percent or higher
(9.4 percent).

In August 2019, 26 percent (768,000) of veterans who served during Gulf War-era I reported a
service-connected disability. Their labor force participation rate (62.6 percent) was lower
than the rate for veterans who did not have a disability (81.4 percent). The unemployment rate
for Gulf War-era I veterans with a service-connected disability (2.5 percent) was not
statistically different from that for Gulf War-era I veterans without a service-connected
disability (3.4 percent).

Fifteen percent (641,000) of veterans who served during other service periods reported a 
service-connected disability in August 2019. The labor force participation rate of these
veterans (38.2 percent) was lower than their counterparts without a service-connected 
disability (47.0 percent), while the unemployment rates were not statistically different for
veterans with a service-connected disability (5.1 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 2019, 31 percent of employed veterans with a disability worked in
federal, state, or local government, compared with 17 percent of veterans with no disability
and 13 percent of nonveterans. Twenty percent of employed veterans with a disability worked for
the federal government, compared with 8 percent of veterans with no disability and 2 percent of
nonveterans. (See table 8.)

Reserve and National Guard Membership 

In August 2019, one-third of Gulf War-era veterans (August 1990 to present) were current or 
past members of the Reserve or National Guard. The labor force participation rate was higher 
for veterans who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard (81.9 percent) 
than for veterans who were never members (76.6 percent). Among Gulf War-era veterans, those who
were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard had an unemployment rate (4.7
percent), not statistically different from that for those who had never been members (3.9
percent). (See table 9.)



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Last Modified Date: April 22, 2020