Job search easing for Gulf War II vets News added by Benefits Pro on March 21, 2014

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By Dan Cook

Finding a job appears to have gotten a little easier for Gulf War II vets, those who have served in the U.S. armed forces since 2001.

Based upon numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this group saw its unemployment rate fall from 9.9 percent to 9 percent last year. The overall civilian population unemployment rate was 6.6 percent last year.

For female Gulf War II veterans, the rate dropped from 12.5 percent in 2012 to 9.6 percent last year. The male rate dropped from 9.5 percent to 9 percent. These rates are still higher than rates among other veterans groups, including the preceding Gulf War I group.

“These differences in the unemployment rates reflect, at least in part, the older age profile of veterans who served during Gulf War era I. Younger workers – whether veterans or nonveterans — are more likely to be unemployed than older workers. Unemployment rates of Gulf War-era I veterans were little different from their nonveteran counterparts of the same age and gender groups,” the BLS reported.

On the other hand, their disability rate was also high, the BLS said. “Twenty-nine percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability in August 2013, compared with 15 percent of all veterans.”

However, the data shows that disabled vets tend to have lower unemployment rates than those without a service-related disability. Additionally, a large percentage of all disabled vets work for a government agency — as many as one in three disabled vets.

Other highlights from the 2013 data:
  • Among the 722,000 unemployed veterans in 2013, 60 percent were age 45 and over.
  • Thirty-five percent were age 25 to 44, and 5 percent were age 18 to 24.
  • Veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent in August 2013, little different than the rate for veterans with no disability (6.6 percent).
  • In 2013, the unemployment rate of veterans varied by state, ranging from over 10 percent in Michigan and New Jersey to under 4 percent in Delaware, Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia.
  • In 2013, the unemployment rates for male and female Gulf War-era I veterans were 5.7 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, lower than the rates for their Gulf War-era II veteran counterparts (8.8 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively).
  • In August 2013, 31 percent of employed veterans with a disability worked in federal, state, or local government, compared with 19 percent of veterans with no disability and 13 percent of nonveterans.
  • The federal government employed 19 percent of veterans with a disability, compared with 7 percent of veterans with no disability.
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