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Veteran unemployment rate decreases to 5.3 percent in 2014

March 23, 2015

In 2014, 21.2 million men and women were veterans. Of these, 10.2 million veterans were employed, 573,000 were unemployed, and the rest, 10.5 million, were not in the labor force (neither employed nor seeking employment).

Unemployment rates of persons 18 years and over by veteran status, period of service, sex, race, and ethnicity, 2014 annual averages
Characteristic Veterans Nonveterans
Gulf War era II Gulf War era I WW II,
Korean War,
and Vietnam era
Other service periods


6.9 4.0 5.0 5.3 6.2


8.5 5.2 5.4 4.2 5.9


6.4 4.0 4.6 4.3 5.1

Black or African American

9.5 4.2 8.2 9.6 11.3


7.4 2.8 5.3 2.3 4.9

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity (1)

7.6 5.0 6.1 5.9 7.2

(1) Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

The unemployment rate for all veterans was 5.3 percent in 2014, a decrease from 6.6 percent in 2013. The unemployment rate for male veterans declined to 5.2 percent in 2014. The rate for female veterans edged down to 6.0 percent. The unemployment rates for male nonveterans was 6.2 percent in 2014. The rate for female nonveterans was 5.9 percent.

Gulf War-era II veterans. Gulf War-era II veterans served in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001. The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans declined by 1.8 percentage points over the year from 9.0 percent in 2013 to 7.2 percent in 2014.

Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate for men declined from 8.8 percent in 2013 to 6.9 percent in 2014. The unemployment rate for women (8.5 percent) in 2014 was not statistically different from the prior year (9.6 percent). The unemployment rate for White Gulf War-era II veterans (6.4 percent) was lower than the rate for Black veterans (9.5 percent).  

Gulf War-era I veterans. Gulf War-era I veterans served between August 1990 and August 2001. In 2014, the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era I veterans was 4.0 percent; the rate for female veterans was 5.2 percent. Both were lower than the rates for Gulf War-era II veterans. These differences in the unemployment rates reflect, at least in part, the older ages of veterans who served during Gulf War era I. Younger people, whether veterans or nonveterans, usually have higher unemployment rates.

The unemployment rates of Gulf War-era I veterans were little different across the major race and Hispanic ethnicity groups. The unemployment rate for Asian Gulf War-era I veterans was 2.8 percent. The rate for White veterans was 4.0 percent, and the rate for African American veterans was 4.2 percent. The jobless rate for Hispanic or Latino Gulf War-era I veterans was 5.0 percent.

World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam Era veterans. Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era were all at least 55 years old in 2014, and about three-fourths were at least 65 years old. Nearly all of these veterans were men. In 2014, the unemployment rate of male veterans of these wartime periods was 5.0 percent, while the rate for female veterans was 5.4 percent.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Employment Situation of Veterans — 2014" (HTML) (PDF). Also see the additional data on veterans. Veterans are 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.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Veteran unemployment rate decreases to 5.3 percent in 2014 at (visited April 21, 2024).

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