The Employment Situation of Veterans

Employment Reports


Each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases their employment and unemployment report. Below are some key insights from those reports focused on veteran employment.

Cover of employment situation report for March 2021

March 2021

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 916,000 in March, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.0 percent. Job growth was widespread in March, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction. For veterans, unemployment decreased to 5.0 in March. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment increased from 5.9 percent to 6.1 percent in March. Of the total 452,000 unemployed veterans ages 18 and over, 17 percent have been unemployed for less than five weeks and 83 percent have been unemployed for more than five weeks. The average length of unemployment is 31.7 weeks (the median is 19.5 weeks). The overall unemployment trend varies by different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.

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Cover of Employment Report for February 2021

February 2021

Today, March 5th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 379,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2 percent. In February, most of the job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, with smaller gains in temporary help services, health care and social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing. Employment declined in state and local government education, construction, and mining. For veterans, unemployment remained the same at 5.5 percent in February. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment decreased from 6.3 percent to 5.9 percent in February. Of the total 497,000 unemployed veterans ages 18 and over, 21 percent have been unemployed for less than five weeks and 79 percent have been unemployed for more than five weeks. The average length of unemployment is 33.3 weeks (the median is 20.9 weeks). The overall unemployment trend varies by different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.

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Cover of January 2021 Employment Report

January 2021

Today, February 5th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in January… notable job gains in professional and business services and in both public and private education were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing. For veterans, unemployment increased to 5.5 percent in January. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment increased from 5.1 percent to 6.3 percent in January. Of the total 500,000 unemployed veterans ages 18 and over, 26 percent have been unemployed for less than five weeks and 74 percent have been unemployed for more than five weeks. The average length of unemployment is 27.5 weeks (the median is 17.7 weeks). The overall unemployment trend varies by different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.

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Cover of December 2020 unemployment report

December 2020

Today, January 8th, 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment declined by 140,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent. In December, job losses in leisure and hospitality and in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, and construction. For veterans, unemployment decreased to 5.3 percent in December. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment decreased from 6.9 percent to 5.1 percent in December. Of the total 462,000 unemployed veterans ages 18 and over, 21 percent have been unemployed for less than five weeks and 79 percent have been unemployed for more than five weeks. The average length of unemployment is 28.3 weeks (the median is 19.5 weeks). The overall unemployment trend varies by different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.

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Cover of Unemployment Report for November 2020

November 2020

Today, December 4th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 245,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7 percent … In November, notable job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and health care. Employment declined in government and retail trade. For veterans, unemployment increased to 6.3 percent in November. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment increased from 6.2 percent to 6.9 percent in November. Of the total 552,000 unemployed veterans ages 18 and over, 21 percent have been unemployed for less than five weeks and 79 percent have been unemployed for more than five weeks. The average length of unemployment is 23.1 weeks (the median is 16.8 weeks). The overall unemployment trend varies by different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.

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Cover of Unemployment Report

October 2020

Today, November 6th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 638,000 in October, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.9 percent. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In October, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction. Employment in government declined.[1] For veterans, unemployment decreased to 5.5 percent in October. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment decreased from 7.5 percent to 6.2 percent in October. Of the total 483,000 unemployed veterans ages 18 and over, 26 percent have been unemployed for less than five weeks and 74 percent have been unemployed for more than five weeks. The average length of unemployment is 21.9 weeks (the median is 15.6 weeks). The overall unemployment trend varies by different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.

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Unemployment report for september.

September 2020

Today, October 2nd, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 661,000 in September, and the unemployment rate declined to 7.9 percent. In September, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in professional and business services. Employment in government declined over the month, mainly in state and local government.[1] For veterans, unemployment remained unchanged at 6.4 percent in September. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment increased from 7.0 percent to 7.5 percent in September. Of the total 568,000 unemployed veterans ages 18 and over, 23 percent have been unemployed for less than five weeks and 77 percent have been unemployed for five weeks or more. The average length of unemployment is 23.8 weeks (the median is 17.4 weeks). The overall unemployment trend varies by different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.

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Cover of August 2020 Unemployment report

August 2020

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.  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.

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Cover of July Unemployment Report

July 2020

Today, August 7th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 1.8 million in July, and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In July, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, government, retail trade, professional and business services, other services, and health care.

For veterans, unemployment decreased from 8.6 percent in June 2020 to 7.9 percent in July 2020. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment also decreased from 10.3 percent in June 2020 to 8.2 percent in July 2020. This overall trend varies for the different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others. Read More ▶ 


Cover page of June unemployment report.

June 2020

Today, July 2nd, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 4.8 million in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent. These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In June, employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services. For veterans, unemployment decreased from 9.0 percent in May 2020 to 8.6 percent in June 2020. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment stayed the same at 10.3 percent. The veteran unemployment trend varies, however, by different demographic factors.   Read More ▶ 


Unemployment Rate for veterans in May 2020 cover page.

May 2020

Today, June 5th 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment rose by 2.5 million in May, and the unemployment rate declined to 13.3 percent. These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In May, employment rose sharply in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade. By contrast, employment in government continued to decline sharply.  For veterans, unemployment decreased from 11.7 percent in April 2020 to 9.0 in May 2020. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment decreased from 13.0 percent to 10.3 percent in the same time period. This overall trend has decreased for the different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others.  Read More ▶


April 2020

Today, May 8, 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment fell by 20.5 million in April 2020, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors, with heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality. For veterans, total veteran unemployment increased from 4.1 percent to 11.7 in the same period. Post-9/11 veteran unemployment increased from 4.1 percent in March to 13.0 percent in April 2020. This overall trend has increased for the different veteran demographic factors, however, some more than others…. Read More ▶


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