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Unemployment rates down from pre-pandemic levels for Gulf War-era II veterans in 2022

March 30, 2023

In August 2022, 1.6 million or 34 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard. This group had an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, little changed from a year earlier. The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans who had never been members of the Reserve or National Guard declined by 2.1 percentage points to 1.9 percent. Both rates were below their pre-pandemic levels in August 2019 (5.7 percent for current or past members and 4.3 percent for those who had never been members).

Unemployment rates for Gulf War-era I and II veterans, by Reserve or National Guard membership, August, 2009–2022
Year Gulf War-era II: Current or past member Gulf War-era II: Never a member Gulf War-era I: Current or past member Gulf War-era I: Never a member

2009

10.6% 13.8% 7.4% 8.8%

2010

14.0 12.1 6.1 7.8

2011

9.1 11.0 7.2 6.8

2012

7.2 13.7 7.5 5.4

2013

8.1 12.0 6.4 5.5

2014

6.2 9.9 4.2 5.1

2015

3.5 6.2 4.7 4.2

2016

4.6 6.2 3.0 5.1

2017

2.8 5.3 2.0 3.5

2018

2.1 5.1 5.3 3.0

2019

5.7 4.3 3.1 3.3

2020

6.4 10.0 4.5 4.4

2021

2.0 4.0 1.7 4.9

2022

3.2 1.9 1.6 3.0

Among Gulf War-era I veterans, 1.1 million or 35 percent were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard in August 2022. The unemployment rates for current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard and those who had never been members were little changed at 1.6 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively. The rates for all Gulf War-era I veterans who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard and those who were never members were at or below their pre-pandemic levels in August 2019 (3.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively).

Labor force participation rates for Gulf War-era I and II veterans, by Reserve or National Guard membership, August, 2009–2022
Year Gulf War-era II: Current or past member Gulf War-era II: Never a member Gulf War-era I: Current or past member Gulf War-era I: Never a member

2009

86.3% 84.9% 88.7% 90.3%

2010

85.4 83.7 84.5 86.4

2011

87.1 79.2 84.0 83.2

2012

85.8 78.7 84.0 84.8

2013

85.4 77.4 81.9 83.7

2014

86.5 77.8 81.4 85.2

2015

83.3 82.6 82.9 82.2

2016

87.4 79.9 78.6 81.3

2017

82.2 80.6 82.6 78.0

2018

82.2 79.7 83.8 79.3

2019

84.9 77.0 77.8 76.0

2020

86.0 79.0 72.4 74.2

2021

82.8 77.1 74.1 73.0

2022

85.3 77.5 75.5 70.9

Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the labor force participation rate was higher for those who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard (85.3 percent) than for veterans who had never been members (77.5 percent) in August 2022. For Gulf War-era I veterans, the participation rates for current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard (75.5 percent) was not statistically different than those who were never members (70.9 percent). The labor force participation rates for Gulf War-era II veterans, regardless of Reserve and National Guard status are little different than before the pandemic, while the rates for Gulf War-era I veterans are below their levels in August 2019 for Reserve and National Guard members and nonmembers.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see “Employment Situation of Veterans — 2022.” Veterans are men and women who previously served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and were civilians when they were surveyed. Gulf War-era I veterans served on active duty anywhere in the world sometime between August 1990 and August 2001. Gulf War-era II veterans served on active duty anywhere in the world sometime since September 2001. People on active duty are not included in the survey.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Unemployment rates down from pre-pandemic levels for Gulf War-era II veterans in 2022 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/unemployment-rates-down-from-pre-pandemic-levels-for-gulf-war-era-ii-veterans-in-2022.htm (visited June 15, 2024).

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