Unemployment Rate for Gulf War-era II Veterans Declines to 9.9 Percent in 2012

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—March 20, 2013. 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–declined by 2.2 percentage points to 9.9 percent in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate for all veterans fell by 1.3 percentage points to 7.0 percent. Twenty-eight percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability in August 2012, compared with 14 percent of all veterans.

This information was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides data 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 2012 annual averages presented in this release. In August 2012, 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 release. The supplement was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. For more information, see the Technical Note, which provides definitions of terms used in this release.

Highlights from the 2012 data:

  • Among all veterans, the unemployment rate for men declined by 1.4    percentage points to 6.9 percent in 2012. The rate for female veterans was little changed at 8.3 percent. (See table A.)
  • Veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent in August 2012, little different than the rate for veterans with no disability (7.1 percent). (See table 6.)
  • One in 3 employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked    in the public sector in August 2012, compared with 1 in 5 veterans with no disability. (See table 7.)
  • Gulf War-era II veterans who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard had an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent in August 2012, lower than the rate for those veterans who had not been members of the Reserve or National Guard (13.7 percent). (See table 8.)
  • Gulf War-era II veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both had an unemployment rate of 10.9 percent in August 2012, little different from those who served elsewhere (11.3 percent). (See table 9.)

The Veteran Population

In 2012, 21.2 million men and women in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 18 and over were veterans. 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 more likely to be men and older than nonveterans. In part, this reflects the characteristics of veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. Veterans who served during these wartime periods account for nearly one-half (9.9 million) of the total veteran population. A total of 5.6 million veterans served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001) or Gulf War era II (September 2001 forward). Another 5.7 million served outside the designated wartime periods. Because age and other demographic differences affect labor force status, the next sections focus on veterans by period of service. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

Gulf War-era II Veterans

In 2012, about 2.6 million of the nation’s veterans had served during Gulf War era II. About 17 percent of these veterans were women, compared with 3 percent of veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era. Almost half of all Gulf War-era II veterans were between the ages of 25 and 34. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

Among male Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate fell by 2.5 percentage points to 9.5 percent from 2011 to 2012. The rate for female veterans, at 12.5 percent in 2012, was little different from the prior year. (See table 1.)

In 2012, the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans age 18 to 24 was 20.0 percent, higher than the rate for nonveterans of the same age group (16.4 percent). The rate for male veterans age 25 to 34 was also higher than the rate for their nonveteran counterparts (10.4 and 8.1 percent, respectively). For older age groups, the unemployment rates were little different for Gulf War-era II veterans and nonveterans. (See table 2B.)

Veterans of Gulf War era II and nonveterans had similar occupational profiles in 2012 after accounting for gender. About one-third of the employed men in both groups worked in management and professional occupations, a higher proportion than in any other major occupational group. Among employed women, about 50 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans and 42 percent of nonveterans worked in management and professional occupations. (See table 4.)

A higher proportion of employed Gulf War-era II veterans worked in the public sector in 2012 than employed nonveterans–25 and 14 percent, respectively. The federal government employed 14 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans, compared with about 2 percent of employed nonveterans. (See table 5.)

In August 2012, approximately 35 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported that they had served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both. (Some veterans did not report their location of service.) These veterans had an unemployment rate of 10.9 percent, not statistically different from Gulf War-era II veterans who served elsewhere (11.3 percent). (See table 9.)

Gulf War-era I Veterans

For the 3.0 million veterans who served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001), the proportion that were women (16 percent in 2012) was similar to that of Gulf War-era II veterans. About 88 percent of Gulf War-era I veterans were age 35 and over, compared with 40 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

In 2012, the unemployment rates for male and female Gulf War-era I veterans were 5.6 and 8.0 percent, respectively, lower than the rates for their Gulf War-era II veteran counterparts (9.5 and 12.5 percent, respectively). These differences in the unemployment rates reflect, at least in part, the older age profile of veterans who served during Gulf War era I. Younger workers–whether veterans or nonveterans—are more likely to be unemployed than older workers. Unemployment rates of Gulf War-era I veterans were little different from their nonveteran counterparts of the same age and gender groups. (See tables 2B and 2C.)

Veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Era In 2012, about 9.9 million veterans were estimated to have served during World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam era. All of these veterans were at least 55 years old, and two-thirds were at least 65 years old. Nearly all (97 percent) of these veterans were men. In 2012, nearly one-third of male veterans of these wartime periods were in the labor force, and their unemployment rate was 6.4 percent. Male veterans of these wartime periods had lower labor force participation rates than did male nonveterans in the same age categories, while unemployment rates were similar. (See tables 1 and 2B.)

Veterans of Other Service Periods

In 2012, about 5.7 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. Because these veterans served between the major wartime periods, which span several decades, this group is concentrated in two age ranges. About 41 percent of these veterans were 45 to 54 years old, and another 38 percent were 65 years and over. (See table 2A.)

Nine in 10 veterans of other service periods were men. Among most age groups, male veterans of service periods between the designated wartime periods had unemployment rates that were little different than those of male nonveterans. (See tables 1 and 2B.)

Veterans with a Service-connected Disability

In August 2012, about 3.0 million veterans, or 14 percent of the total, had a service-connected disability. (Some veterans did not report whether they 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 6.)

Among veterans with a service-connected disability, nearly 4 in 10 reported a disability rating of less than 30 percent, while about 3 in 10 had a rating of 60 percent or higher. In August 2012, veterans with a service-connected disability rating of less than 30 percent were more than twice as likely to be in the labor force as those with a rating of 60 percent or higher (58.1 and 26.1 percent, respectively).

Among veterans who served during Gulf War era II, nearly 3 in 10 (712,000) reported having a service-connected disability. Of these, 70.3 percent were in the labor force in August 2012, compared with 87.0 percent of veterans from this period with no service-connected disability. Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate of those with a disability was 8.0 percent, not statistically different from those with no disability (12.5 percent).

In August 2012, about 17 percent (532,000) of veterans who served during Gulf War era I reported a service-connected disability. Their labor force participation rate (72.6 percent) was lower than the rate for veterans from the era who did not have a disability (87.8 percent). Unemployment rates for Gulf War-era I veterans with and without service-connected disabilities were little different (5.0 and 6.3 percent, respectively).

Among the 1.3 million veterans with a service-connected disability from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era, 21.1 percent were in the labor force in August 2012, compared with 32.2 percent of veterans from these periods who did not have a service-connected disability. The unemployment rate of veterans with a disability from these wartime periods was 6.1 percent, little different from their counterparts with no disability (5.5 percent).

Veterans with a service-connected disability from other service periods had a labor force participation rate of 54.0 percent in August 2012, compared with 56.0 percent for veterans with no disability from these periods. Among veterans from other service periods, the unemployment rates of those with and without service-connected disabilities were similar–6.5 and 6.4 percent, respectively.

Regardless of period of service, many veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the public sector. In August 2012, 34 percent of employed veterans with a disability worked in federal, state, or local government, compared with 19 percent of veterans with no disability and 14 percent of nonveterans. The federal government employed 19 percent of veterans with a disability, compared with 7 percent of veterans with no disability and 2 percent of employed nonveterans. (See table 7.)

Reserve and National Guard Membership

Nearly 30 percent of both Gulf War-era I and Gulf War-era II veterans were reported to be current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard. Among Gulf War-era II veterans, those who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard had an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent in August 2012, lower than the rate for those who had never been members (13.7 percent). Gulf War-era II veterans who were current or past members of the Reserve or National Guard had a higher labor force participation rate than those who had never been members (85.8 and 78.7 percent, respectively). For veterans of Gulf War-era I, labor force participation rates and unemployment rates were similar for members and nonmembers. (See table 8.)

Source: bls.gov