Veterans in the Workforce -- The Numbers Tell the Story

Monday, November 12, 2012 - Came across this great blog post from NUVO, Indy's alternative voice. They credit the "data shamans" from the U.S. Census Bureau for unearthing some enlightening statistics on veterans. Much of the data references 2011.

21.5 million: the number of military veterans in the United States in 2011.

1.6 million: the number of female veterans in 2011.

9.2 million: the number of veterans 65 and older in 2011 vs. 1.8 million younger than 35.

5.1 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).

California had the largest population of veterans in the United States in 2011. Our 1.9 million edged out Texas and Florida (1.6 million each). These are the only three states with more than one million veterans.

26.3% of veterans age 25 and older possessed at least a bachelor's degree in 2011, slightly behind the general population where 28.5% of the total population 25 or older had a Bachelor's degree or higher.

92.3%: of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2011, compared with 86 percent of the population as a whole.

On it goes...median income, disabilities, voting habits.

Then we come to the workforce, AKA "on the job." In 2011, there were 9.1 million veterans, age 18 to 64, in the labor force.

That's all, no explanation, no further quantifying.

Having no idea whether this figure was high, healthy, recession- skewed or what, I needed a bit more detail. So I clicked the link only to discover...

Of that 9.1 million in the labor force, 834,005 were unemployed. An additional 3.1 million veterans were listed as "not in the labor force" meaning they fall into the category of being no longer actively seeking employment.

That's just 2011.

For 2012, I went to another outstanding website, that of Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families. The October 2012 Employment Situation for Veterans painted a rather frightening picture:

With national unemployment hovering somewhere around 7.3%, veterans were at 6.3% unemployment, a total of 689,000 out of work  in October 2012. Gulf War II era veterans (those of the post-Sept. 11, 2001 generation) were at 10% (209,000 unemployed)  in October. Gulf War era I veterans (August 1990-August 2001) were at 5.2% unemployment while World War II, Vietnam, Korea vets were at 5.3% unemployment.

Even more: "For Gulf War era II veterans (post-9/11 generation), the unemployment rate has increased from 9.7% to 10.0% from September to October. The youngest post-9/11 veterans continue to experience the highest unemployment rates, with those in the 20-24 age range experiencing a 23.8% unemployment rate (compared to 12.5% for non-veterans) and those in the 25-29 age range experiencing a 10.1% unemployment rate (compared to 8.7% for non-veterans). Of the 206,000 unemployed post-9/11 veterans ages 20 and over, 64% have been unemployed for 15 weeks or more. Older post-9/11 veterans are starting to experience high unemployment rates as well, with those in the 60-64 age range experiencing a 21.0% unemployment rate (which is up from 11.2% in September)."

So it's "Welcome home thanks for your service and good luck with that job hunt."