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EMPLOYMENT SITUATION OF VETERANS: 2007
(November 11, 2008) In 2007, the unemployment rate among veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces since September 2001 was 6.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday, April 10, 2008. About17 percent of these veterans, also called Gulf War-era II veterans, had a service-connected disability in August 2007. The jobless rate for veterans of all eras combined was 3.8 percent in 2007. About 12 percent of all veterans had a service-connected disability in August 2007.
This information on veterans was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides official statistics on employment and unemployment in the United States. Data about veterans are collected monthly in the CPS; those monthly data are the source of the 2007 annual averages presented in this release. In August 2007, a supplement to the CPS collected additional information about veterans on topics such as service-connected disability. Information from the supplement also is presented in this release. The supplement was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans' Employment and Training Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information, see the box note on page 3 and the technical note, which provides definitions of terms, including periods of service, used in this release. Other findings from the 2007 annual averages and August 2007 supplement include:
--Gulf War-era II veterans who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard had an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent, compared with a rate of 8.1 percent for those who had not been members.
--The unemployment rate for disabled veterans was 3.4 percent in August 2007, essentially the same as the rate for nondisabled veterans (3.5 percent).
--One-third of employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the public sector; 16 percent were employed by the federal government. The Veteran Population
In the CPS, 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 they were surveyed. In 2007, 22.6 million men and women in the civilian noninstitu- tional population ages 18 and over were veterans. The veteran population dif- fers from the nonveteran population in several ways. Veterans are more likely to be men, white, and older than nonveterans. In part, this reflects the char- acteristics of veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. Veterans who served during these wars account for about one-half (12.3 million) of the total veteran population. A total of 4.3 million veterans served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001) or Gulf War era II (September 2001 forward). Another 6.0 million served outside the designated wartime periods. (See table 1.) Because age and other demographic differences affect employment and unemployment status, the groups of veterans listed above are examined separately in the next sections.
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Gulf War-era II Veterans
About 1.5 million veterans served during Gulf War era II. As with all period- of-service groups, men accounted for the vast majority (84 percent) of Gulf War- era II veterans. However, the proportion of veterans who were women was much higher among veterans who served in Gulf War era II (16 percent) than among those who served in earlier periods. In 2007, about two-thirds of all Gulf War-era II veterans were under the age of 35. (See tables 1 and 2.)
In 2007, a large majority (86.5 percent) of Gulf War-era II veterans partici- pated in the labor force, and their unemployment rate was 6.1 percent. For those ages 18 to 24, the unemployment rate was 12.0 percent, twice that of Gulf War- era II veterans ages 25 to 34 (6.0 percent). Among men ages 18 to 24, the unem- ployment rate of Gulf War-era II veterans (11.2 percent) was about the same as the rate of nonveterans (10.5 percent). In general, Gulf War-era II veterans had unemployment rates that were not statistically different from those of nonveterans of the same age and gender.
Nearly one-third of employed male veterans of Gulf War era II worked in manage- ment, professional, and related occupations, about the same proportion as male non- veterans. Sales and office occupations; natural resources, construction, and main- tenance occupations; and production, transportation, and material moving occupations each accounted for about 18 percent of employed male veterans and nonveterans. (See table 3.) Among female veterans of Gulf War era II, nearly 40 percent were employed in management and professional occupations, with another 33 percent working in sales and office jobs. These proportions were virtually the same as those for female non- veterans.
Gulf War-era I Veterans
For the 2.9 million veterans who served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001), the proportion that were men was similar to that of Gulf War-era II veterans. In 2007, about two-thirds of Gulf War-era I veterans were ages 35 and over, compared with one-third of those from Gulf War era II.
Nearly 90 percent of veterans from Gulf War era I were in the labor force in 2007, somewhat higher than the rate of Gulf War-era II veterans. The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era I veterans (3.5 percent) was lower than the rate for Gulf War-era II vet- erans (6.1 percent). These differences in labor force participation and unemployment rates probably reflect the older age distribution of veterans who served in Gulf War era I. Labor force participation rates and unemployment rates of Gulf War-era I vet- erans were similar to those of nonveterans of the same age and gender.
Veterans of Earlier Service Periods
In 2007, there were about 12 million veterans who had served during World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam era. Nearly all of these veterans were at least 55 years old, and one-half were at least 65 years old. About 97 percent of these vet- erans were men.
About 40 percent of male veterans of these earlier wartime periods were in the labor force in 2007, and their unemployment rate was 3.4 percent. As with nonveterans, the labor force participation rates for these veterans decreased with age; the rate for veterans ages 45 to 54 was 78.9 percent, while the rate for those ages 65 and over was 14.8 percent. In contrast, the unemployment rates for these veterans were similar across the age groups.
Male veterans of these wartime periods (World War II, the Korean War, and the Viet- nam era) had lower labor force participation rates than male nonveterans in the same age categories. The unemployment rates of these veterans and nonveterans were about the same, however.
Six million veterans 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. (See table 1.) Because these veterans served between the major wartime per- iods, which span several decades, this group has a diverse age profile. About 37 per- cent of these veterans were at least 65 years old. Another 34 percent were between ages 45 and 54, and 21 percent were ages 35 to 44. Ninety-one percent were men.
Among most age groups, male veterans of service periods between the designated war- time periods had labor force participation rates and unemployment rates similar to those of male nonveterans.
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In August 2007, about 2.6 million veterans, or 12 percent of the total, reported having a service-connected disability. (Some veterans did not report whether they had a service-connected disability.) Veterans with a service-connected disability are as- signed a disability rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ratings range from 0 to 100 percent, in increments of 10 percentage points, depending on the severity of the condition. About 40 percent of disabled veterans reported a disability rating of less than 30 percent, while 25 percent had a rating of 60 percent or higher. (See table 5.)
Among veterans who served in Gulf War era II, about 17 percent (260,000) reported having a service-connected disability, one-fifth of whom had a rating of 60 percent or more. Of Gulf War-era II veterans with a disability, 87.8 percent were in the labor force, about the same as the rate for nondisabled veterans from this period. The unemployment rate of disabled veterans from Gulf War eras I and II combined was 2.0 percent, while the rate for nondisabled veterans was 4.4 percent; in statistical terms, these rates are not significantly different.
Thirty percent of disabled veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era were in the labor force in August 2007, compared with 40.5 percent of veterans from these periods who did not have a service-connected disability. The unemployment rate of disabled veterans of these earlier wartime periods was 5.4 percent; for their nondisabled peers, it was 3.3 percent. (See table 5.)
Disabled veterans who were on active duty during other (non-wartime) service periods had a 58.0 percent labor force participation rate, essentially the same as the rate for nondisabled veterans from these periods (59.9 percent). The unemployment rate of dis- abled veterans from other service periods was 3.2 percent; for the nondisabled, it was 2.8 percent.
About 33 percent of disabled veterans were employed in federal, state, or local gov- ernment, compared with 18 percent of nondisabled veterans and 14 percent of nonveterans. About 16 percent of employed disabled veterans worked for the federal government. This compared with 7 percent of nondisabled veterans and 2 percent of nonveterans. (See table 6.)
Reserve and National Guard Membership
The August 2007 supplement collected information about Gulf War-era veterans' member- ship in the Reserve or National Guard. Among Gulf War-era II veterans, about 38 percent were reported to be current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard; the propor- tion for Gulf War-era I veterans was 32 percent. About half of both Gulf War-era II and Gulf War-era I veterans had never belonged to the Reserve or National Guard. Information on Reserve or National Guard status was not reported for a substantial proportion of both groups.
For Gulf War-era II veterans, those who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard had an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent, compared with a rate of 8.1 per- cent for those who had never been members. Labor force participation rates did not differ significantly by Reserve or National Guard membership for Gulf War-era II veterans. For veterans of Gulf War era I, both labor force participation rates and unemployment rates were similar regardless of Reserve or National Guard membership. (See table 7.)
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