The Employment Situation of Veterans – August 2020

Overview

Today, September 4th, 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 1.4 million in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the pandemic, as well as hiring for the 2020 Census.  In August, an increase in government employment largely reflected temporary hiring for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, in professional and business services, in leisure and hospitality, and in education and health services. [1]  For veterans, unemployment decreased from 7.9 percent in July to 6.4 percent in August. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment also decreased from 8.2 percent in July to 7.0 percent in August. This overall trend varies for the different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.

With respect to age, post 9/11 veterans (ages 25-34) unemployment rate increased from 6.7 percent to 11.7 percent in August. During this period, veterans (ages 25-34) were unemployed at a higher rate than their nonveteran peers of the same age group. Of the total 560,000 unemployed veterans ages 18 and over, 27 percent have been unemployed for less than five weeks and 73 percent have been unemployed for five weeks or more. The average length of unemployment is 21.0 weeks (the median is 14.7 weeks).

Female post-9/11 veterans experienced a decrease in unemployment, from 7.9 percent in July to 4.5 percent in August. By comparison, the unemployment rate for total female veterans (all cohorts) decreased to 8.2 percent. Female nonveterans have a higher unemployment rate (9.0 percent) compared to their female veteran counterparts. Total male veteran unemployment (6.1 percent) is slightly lower than the national veteran rate. The post-9/11 male veteran unemployment decreased to 7.4 percent in August.

Black or African American post-9/11 veterans saw a monthly decrease in unemployment to 5.4 percent. This rate is lower than the 13.4 percent unemployment rate of their nonveteran counterparts. Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish Origin post-9/11 veterans experienced a monthly increase in unemployment to 7.0 percent. This rate is lower than the 10.6 percent unemployment rate of their nonveteran counterparts. Asian or Asian American post-9/11 veterans experienced a monthly decrease in unemployment to 14.0 percent. This rate is higher than the 10.7 percent unemployment rate of their nonveteran counterparts. Readers should be cautioned, however, that data on specific veteran subgroups can vary widely from month to month.

Demographics & Trends

The following tables summarize the employment situation of veterans in America based on BLS data released on September 4, 2020. These are unpublished data from the Current Population Survey, not seasonally adjusted, and represent the period ending August 2020.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR: July 2020 August 2020 CHANGE  (+/-) Annual Averages 2019
All Americans (18 and over) 10.3 8.5 -1.8 3.5
All Veterans 7.9 6.4 -1.5 3.1
Post-9/11 Veterans 8.2 7.0 -1.2 3.5
Gulf-War I Era Veterans 7.0 4.7 -2.3 2.6
WWII, Korean War and Vietnam Era 8.3 6.2 -2.1 2.8
All Nonveterans 10.5 8.6 -1.9 3.6

 

UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR VETERANS
Demographic Category July 2020 August 2020 CHANGE   (+/-) Annual Averages 2019
18–24 26.7 2.8 -23.9 7.4
25-34 6.7 11.7 +5.0 3.3
35-44 6.7 4.2 -2.5 3.4
45-54 6.7 4.9 -1.8 2.7
55-64 8.4 7.0 -1.4 2.9
65 and older 8.4 6.1 -2.3 2.8





Male 7.5 6.1 -1.4 3.0
Female 10.7 8.2 -2.5 3.7





White, Anglo, Caucasian 7.4 6.0 -1.4 2.8
Black or African American 9.3 6.2 -3.1 4.9
Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish Origin 6.2 6.5 +0.3 2.4
Asian or Asian American 10.6 10.6 0.0 3.6

 

UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR POST-9/11 VETERANS
Demographic Category July 2020 August 2020 CHANGE   (+/-) Annual Averages 2019
18–24 26.7 2.8 -23.9 7.4
25-34 6.7 11.7 +5.0 3.3
35-44 7.1 4.9 -2.2 3.8
45-54 7.3 3.5 -3.8 2.8
55-64 5.4 7.5 +2.1 2.5
65 and older 23.0  – 2.1





Male 8.3 7.4 -0.9 3.4
Female 7.9 4.5 -3.4 4.7





White, Anglo, Caucasian 7.1 6.6 -0.5 3.0
Black or African American 8.1 5.4 -2.7 6.8
Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish Origin 5.2 7.0 +1.8 3.2
Asian or Asian American 16.2 14.0 -2.2 3.9

 

 

UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR NONVETERANS
Demographic Category July 2020 August 2020 CHANGE   (+/-) Annual Averages 2019
18–24 18.2 14.6 -3.6 7.8
25-34 11.7 9.7 -2.0 3.7
35-44 8.3 6.6 -1.7 2.7
45-54 8.1 6.5 -1.6 2.7
55-64 8.9 7.6 -1.3 2.6
65 and older 9.6 8.8 -0.8 3.0





Male 9.7 8.2 -1.5 3.7
Female 11.3 9.0 -2.3 3.5





White, Anglo, Caucasian 9.4 7.5 -1.9 3.2
Black or African American 15.2 13.4 -1.8 5.9
Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish Origin 13.0 10.6 -2.4 4.2
Asian or Asian American 12.1 10.7 -1.4 2.6

 

NOTE: Although the BLS reports the national average for those 16 and over, the tables above include only those that are 18 and over to make a more accurate comparison to the veteran population. Post-9/11 are of the Gulf War Era II (September 2001-present). Other periods of service include Gulf War Era I (August 1990-August 2001), Vietnam Era (August 1964-April 1975), Korean War (July 1950-January 1955), World War II (December 1941-December 1946). Veterans who served in more than one wartime period are classified only in the most recent one. Veterans who served during one of the selected wartime periods and another peacetime period are classified only in the wartime period. The minority-by-gender unemployment rates are not displayed due to small sample size and are more appropriately displayed as annual averages

[1] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

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