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8.6 million veterans were employed in 2022

November 09, 2023

Veterans pursue a variety of career paths following their service to our country. In 2022, 8.6 million military veterans age 18 and older were employed, accounting for about 1 in 20 civilian workers in the United States. Regardless of veteran status, more men and women worked in management, professional, and related occupations than in any other occupational group. Both male and female veterans were more likely than their nonveteran counterparts to be employed in this occupational group.

Percent distribution of employed veterans and nonveterans by occupation and sex, 2022
Veteran status and sex Management, professional, and related Service Sales and office Natural resources, construction, and maintenance Production, transportation, and material moving

Total veterans

43.3 12.5 14.4 12.8 16.9

Total nonveterans

43.6 15.8 19.3 8.8 12.5

Male veterans

41.6 12.5 12.9 14.5 18.5

Male nonveterans

39.5 12.6 14.0 16.2 17.8

Female veterans

54.0 12.5 24.5 2.0 6.9

Female nonveterans

47.9 19.2 25.0 1.1 6.8

Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.

Among employed men, 41.6 percent of veterans worked in management, professional, and related occupations in 2022 compared to 39.5 percent of nonveterans. Male veterans were less likely than nonveterans to work in sales and office occupations and in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations. About 19 percent of employed male veterans worked in production, transportation, and material moving occupations, similar to the nearly 18 percent of male nonveterans. 

Like their male counterparts, employed women who were veterans were more likely to work in management, professional, and related occupations than nonveterans in 2022 (54.0 percent and 47.9 percent, respectively). Employed female veterans were also more likely to work in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations than their nonveteran counterparts, but were less likely to work in service occupations.

In 2022, the employment–population ratio­­—the percentage of the population that is employed—for veterans was 46.6 percent compared with 62.4 percent for nonveterans. The difference in employment–population ratios between veterans and nonveterans reflects, at least in part, the older age profile of veterans who served during the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam era—all of whom are now over the age of 65. These veterans accounted for the largest share of the veteran population, at 34 percent (or 6.2 million) in 2022.

Employment–population ratios for veterans by period of service and nonveterans, 2013 to 2022
Year Total veterans Gulf War II veterans Gulf War I veterans World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam-era veterans Veterans of other service periods Nonveterans

2013

47.9 73.3 78.8 28.0 52.3 61.4

2014

47.9 73.9 79.0 26.9 49.7 61.8

2015

48.4 76.4 77.4 25.3 49.5 62.0

2016

48.5 77.3 77.4 23.8 48.4 62.4

2017

47.8 77.0 76.4 21.7 47.1 62.8

2018

47.5 77.8 76.3 20.2 46.2 63.0

2019

47.7 77.3 74.2 19.9 45.7 63.4

2020

45.2 72.9 70.5 17.1 42.4 59.1

2021

45.6 75.0 70.8 15.7 40.4 60.7

2022

46.6 77.4 69.8 14.2 40.5 62.4

By period of service, Gulf War-era II veterans had the highest employment–population ratio at 77.4 percent and were the only group to return to their pre-pandemic ratio in 2022. Gulf War-era I veterans had an employment–population ratio of 69.8 percent; World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam-era veterans had a ratio of 14.2 percent; and veterans of other service periods had a ratio of 40.5 percent.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see “Employment Situation of Veterans — 2022.” For additional information on veterans please see the Veterans Demographics page.

Note: Veterans are men and women who previously served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and were civilians when they were surveyed. People on active duty are not included in the survey. 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 who served in more than one wartime period are classified only in the most recent one. Veterans who served during one of the selected wartime periods and another period are classified only in the wartime period.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 8.6 million veterans were employed in 2022 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/8-6-million-veterans-were-employed-in-2022.htm (visited April 13, 2024).

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