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IVMF issues analysis of 2011 BLS annual report on employment situation of veterans

March 26, 2012

Jaime Winne Alvarez
(315) 443-0177

In relation to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual report, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) has released The Employment Situation of Veterans: 2011, Analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Annual Report. Data from this report comes from the Current Population Survey (CPS) annual averages for 2011, as reported in month-to-month unemployment rates published by the BLS. The annual report also includes additional characteristics, including veterans who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan and those with service-connected disabilities (taken from a supplement to the CPS collected in August 2011).

Overall, the unemployment rate for veterans in 2011 was 8.3 percent, down from 8.7 percent in 2010. The unemployment rate for those whom the BLS identifies as Gulf War era II (post-9/11) veterans was at 12.1 percent in 2011, an increase from 11.5 percent in 2010. The unemployment rate for those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan or both was 11.6 percent, down from 14.3 percent the previous year. These rates are not statistically different from Gulf War era II veterans who served elsewhere, 8.6 percent in 2011 and 11.4 percent in 2010.

“There is no significant variation between the 2011 and 2010 employment situation of veterans overall, with the exception of Gulf War era II veterans ages 18-24, with an unemployment rate of 30.2 percent, up from 20.9 percent in 2010, or a 9.3 percent increase,” says Rosalinda V. Maury, IVMF director of research. “Specifically, female Gulf War II era veterans, ages 18-24, fared the worst, with an unemployment rate of 36.1 percent, up from 15.3 percent in 2010, or a 20.8 percent increase. This rate is more than double the rate of non-veteran females in the same age category. Male Gulf War era II veterans in the same age category had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent, up from 21.9 percent in 2010, a 7.2 percent increase. This rate is also higher than their non-veteran male counterparts.”

In its analysis, the IVMF also compared the overall unemployment trend for Gulf War era II veterans and nonveterans from January 2006 to February 2012. Over this six-year period, the general tendency has been that the veteran unemployment rate is higher than non-veterans, and has been trending higher each year. Female Gulf War era II veterans, especially, have experienced high unemployment rates in individual months during this six-year period and have a much higher unemployment rate, also trending higher.

In addition to analysis of the 2011 annual report, the IVMF issues a fact sheet the first Friday of each month representing the current snapshot of the month-to-month change in the employment situation of America’s veterans, which summarizes and deconstructs data released monthly by the BLS. The report also highlights innovative and new practices in business and industry, and by government and veteran-serving organizations. The first report was issued in December 2011. An archive can be found on the IVMF website, or by clicking on the Current Employment Situation icon on the institute’s homepage.

Those interested in subscribing to receive the monthly employment situation reports may do so by sending an e-mail to

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