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Unemployment Rate for Gulf War-era II Veterans at 12.1% in 2011

  • Written by Press Release
  • Category: Military

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—March 20, 2012. 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--was 12.1 percent in 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate for all veterans was 8.3 percent. Twenty-six percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability in August 2011, compared with about 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 information 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 2011 annual averages presented in this release. In August 2011, a supplement to the CPS collected additional information about veterans on topics such as service-connected disability. 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 2011 data:

  •  The unemployment rate of veterans in 2011 (8.3 percent) was not statistically different from the rate in 2010 (8.7 percent). The rate for Gulf War-era II veterans also was little different from a year earlier. (See table A.) 
  • Young male veterans (those ages 18 to 24) who served during Gulf War era II had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent in 2011, higher than that of young male nonveterans  (17.6 percent). (See table 2B.) 
  • Among all veterans, those with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent in August 2011, about the same as the rate for veterans with no disability (7.9 percent). (See table 6.) 
  • One in three employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the public sector in August 2011, compared with about 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 9.1 percent in August 2011, little different than the rate for those veterans who had not been members (11.0 percent). (See table 8.) 
  • Gulf War-era II veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both had an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent in August 2011. (See table 9.)

The Veteran Population

In 2011, 21.6 million men and women in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 18 and over were veterans. (See table 1.) 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 of the survey.

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 about one-half (10.4 million) of the total veteran population. A total of 5.3 million veterans served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001) or Gulf War era II (September 2001 forward). Another 5.9 million served outside these designated wartime periods. Because age and other demographic differences affect labor force status, the next sections focus on veterans by period of service.

Gulf War-era II Veterans

In 2011, about 2.4 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. About half of all Gulf War-era II veterans were between the ages of 25 and 34. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate for men was 12.0 percent in 2011, little different from the rate for women (12.4 percent). (See table 1.)

The unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans age 18 to 24, at 29.1 percent, was higher than that for nonveterans of the same age group (17.6 percent). The rate for male veterans age 25 to 34 also was higher than the rate for their nonveteran counterparts (13.4 and 9.5 percent, respectively). For those age 35 and over, the unemployment rates of male veterans and nonveterans generally were little different. (See table 2B.)

Veterans of Gulf War era II and nonveterans had similar occupational profiles in 2011 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 49 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans and 41 percent of nonveterans worked in management and professional occupations. (See table 4.)

Gulf War-era II veterans were about twice as likely to work in the public sector in 2011 as were nonveterans--27 percent and 14 percent, respectively. About 14 percent of employed veterans of the era worked for the federal government, compared with about 2 percent of employed nonveterans. (See table 5.)

In August 2011, approximately 38 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 11.6 percent, not statistically different from Gulf War-era II veterans who served elsewhere (8.6 percent). (See table 9.)

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 women (16 percent in 2011) was similar to that of Gulf War-era II veterans. About 87 percent of the era's veterans were age 35 and over, compared with 36 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans. (See tables 1 and 2A.)

The labor force participation rate of male veterans from Gulf War era I was 85.7 percent in 2011, little different than the rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans (83.5 percent). The unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era I veterans (7.1 percent) was lower than the rate for Gulf War-era II veterans (12.0 percent). This difference in the unemployment rate reflects, at least in part, the older age profile of veterans who served during Gulf War era I. Unemployment rates of Gulf War-era I veterans were not statistically different from those of nonveterans of the same gender and age group.

Veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Era

In August 2011, about 10.4 million veterans responded that they 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 more than half were at least 65 years old. Nearly all (97 percent) of these veterans were men. In 2011, just over one-third of male veterans of these wartime periods were in the labor force, and their unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Male veterans of these wartime periods had lower labor force participation rates compared with male nonveterans in the same age categories. (See tables 1 and 2B.)

Veterans of Other Service Periods

In 2011, about 5.9 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 43 percent of these veterans were 45 to 54 years old, and another 38 percent were 65 years and over. (See tables 1 and 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 labor force participation rates and unemployment rates that were not statistically different than those of male nonveterans.

Veterans with a Service-connected Disability

In August 2011, about 3.0 million veterans, or 14 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 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, about 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 2011, 60.3 percent of veterans with a service-connected disability rating of less than 30 percent were in the labor force, compared with 26.6 percent for those with a rating of 60 percent or higher.

Among veterans who served in Gulf War-era II, about 1 in 4 (633,000) reported having a service-connected disability. Of these, 80.0 percent were in the labor force in August 2011, compared with 83.7 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 12.1 percent, not statistically different from those with no disability (9.5 percent).

In August 2011, 19.5 percent (586,000) of veterans who served during Gulf War era I reported a service-connected disability. Their labor force participation rate (69.6 percent) was lower than the rate for veterans from the era who did not have a disability (88.2 percent). Unemployment rates for Gulf War-era I veterans with and without service-connected disabilities were little different (7.1 and 6.9 percent, respectively).

Among the 1.2 million veterans with a service-connected disability from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era, 20.9 percent were in the labor force in August 2011, compared with 35.5 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 3.1 percent, below the rate for their counterparts with no disability (8.2 percent).

Veterans with a service-connected disability from other service periods had a labor force participation rate of 53.1 percent in August 2011, compared with 56.8 percent for veterans with no disability from these periods. Among veterans from other service periods, the unemployment rates of veterans with and without service-connected disabilities were not statistically different--9.4 and 7.5 percent, respectively.

Regardless of period of service, many veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the public sector. In August 2011, 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. About 18 percent of employed veterans with a disability worked for the federal government, compared with 6 percent of veterans with no disability and 2 percent of nonveterans. (See table 7.)

Reserve and National Guard Membership

About 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 9.1 percent in August 2011, little different from those who had never been members (11.0 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. For veterans of Gulf War-era I, labor force participation rates as well as unemployment rates were similar for members and nonmembers. (See table 8.)

Source: bls.gov

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