Department of Virginia Legion Family Members,


The first Friday of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment statistics are released.  The national unemployment rate decreased from 5.3% to 5.1% and the Veteran unemployment numbers decreased from 4.7% to 4.2%. Below you can either open the hyperlink or read the summary of additional statistics.



The BLS CPS report states there were 21,177,000 veterans alive in August, down 22,000 from the 21,199,000 veterans alive in July and down from the 21,224,000 in June. These numbers continue the downward trend of veterans in the United States. At the end of the Vietnam War, there were nearly 60,000,000 veterans alive in America.

BLS CPS reports there were 10,686,000 veterans in the workforce which is an increase of 16,000 from the 10,670,000 veterans in the workforce in July. This would reflect the downsizing our America’s military forces that DOD is currently conducting.

449,000 veterans were unemployed in August, down significantly from the 501,000 unemployed veterans in July, making the veteran unemployment rate for August 4.2%, down from July’s 4.7%.

There are 10,485,000 veterans not in the workforce, a decline of 44,000 from the July number of 10,529,000. This number means that of the total veteran population, 49.5% are not in the workforce. This is a disturbing number.

The really good news is the overall veteran unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national unemployment rate. The August veteran unemployment rate of 4.3% (449,000) continues to be lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.0% (7,767,000).

It is encouraging that the veteran unemployment rate is lower than the national unemployment rate. The 4.3% veteran unemployment rate again confirms that veterans are obtaining employment at a BETTER rate than nonveterans.

Younger Veterans

For August there were 262,000 veterans in the 18 to 24 year old cohort (data speak for a group). Of those, 190,000 (72.7%) were in the civilian labor force, of which 173,000 (66.0%) were employed and 18,000 (9.2%) were unemployed. For comparison, the national 18 to 24 year old unemployment rate was 10.1% (1,995,000).

It is good to see that the younger veteran unemployment is declining. I surmise that much of the high young veteran unemployment rate had been due to the rapid reduction in force by the Department of Defense. This number may go back up in the near future as DOD has announced they will cut another 40,000 from the Army.

There were 1,760,000 veterans in the 25 to 34 year old veteran cohort in August, down 8,000 from the 1,768,000 in July. Of this group, 1,436,000 were in the workforce of which 1,341,000 were employed and 95,000 (6.6%) were unemployed. 324,000 were not in the workforce, down from the 342,000 in July. For comparison, the national unemployment rate for the 25-34 year olds in August was 5.3% (1,822,000)

The veteran numbers are expected to continue to improve since the DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) has set an audit benchmark, which is in essence a quota, for all companies subject to OFCCP to have a minimum 7.0% of their workforce be veterans. Companies also have a benchmark of 7.0% hiring of individuals with a disability (IWD). As many veterans have a service connected disability, an employer gets to check off two requirements during their audits by DOL when hiring veterans with a disability.

Due to the sluggish economy of the last six years there have been veterans who were having problems finding work, much like their civilian counterparts, but for a variety of reasons unique to military service, mostly disabilities acquired while on active duty. With the addition of veterans from the downsizing of the active duty forces, the competition for veterans by employers of not only the younger veterans but veterans in general has intensified. A drawback for the veterans will be if they have the skills, experience, education and certifications required by the employers.

Older Veterans

The unemployment rates for the older veteran cohorts are as follows:

August                           July

35 to 44 year olds       2.3% (46,000)             4.2% (84,000)

45 to 54 year olds       3.7% (104,000)                       3.3% (93,000)

55 to 64 year olds       5.4% (122,000)                       5.7% (133,000)

65 year olds and over    3.3% (65,000)                       3.5% (68,000)

Women Veterans

There were 1,999,000 women veterans in August of which 1,234,000 were in the workforce. 1,170,000 were employed and 64,000 (5.2%) were unemployed. The unemployment rate for women veterans in July was 5.0% (59,000). 765,000 women veterans were not in the workforce. The national unemployment rate for women in August was 5.3% (3,859,000).

Gulf War II Veterans

There were 3,581,000 Gulf War II veterans in August. 2,878,000 (80.4%) were in the workforce. Of those, 2,744,000 (76.6%) were employed and 134,000 (4.7%) were unemployed. In July 190,000 (6.7%) were unemployed.

Black Veterans

There were 2,363,000 black veterans in August of which 1,337,000 (56.6%) were in the workforce. 1,251,000 (52.9%) were employed and 86,000 (6.4%) were unemployed. In July 118,000 (8.2%) Black veterans were unemployed. The national Black unemployment rate in August was 9.5% (1,824,000). These numbers again confirm the advantages of minorities joining the military to obtain employment skills.

Asian Veterans

There were 340,000 Asian veterans in August, of which 226,000 (66.7%) were in the workforce. 219,000 (64.4%) were employed and 8,000 (3.5%) were unemployed. In July the Asian veteran unemployment rate was 2.5%. The national unemployment rate in August for Asians 3.3% (297,000).

Hispanic Veterans

There were 1,513,000 Hispanic veterans in August of which 949,000 (62.7%) were in the workforce. 891,000 (58.9%) were employed and 57,000 (6.0%) were unemployed. 565,000 were not in the workforce. The national unemployment rate for Hispanics in August was 6.5% (1,667,000)

White Veterans

There were 17,876,000 White veterans in August of which 8,712,000 (48.7%) were in the workforce. 8,381,000 (46.9%) were employed and 331,000 (3.8%) were unemployed. The national White unemployment rate in August was 4.3% (5,246,000).


Education Information:


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If you know of a veteran, especially a Legionnaire, who needs a point of contact regarding their VA education benefits:


They can send them a secure email that will usually be answered within 48 hours. You can also search for answers to frequently asked questions and register to be notified of any updates to the information. This contact method is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can also be utilized worldwide. Click here to enter the “Ask A Question” site or here to review our frequently asked questions.


They can also call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). This line only accepts calls from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM central time Monday – Friday.


Did You Know:

  • Research and surveys from organizations like Gallup and the Pew Research Center have revealed an increasing disconnect between civilians and the military. Just one-half of 1 percent of Americans served in uniform at any given time during the past decade.
  • According to a 2011 Pew Survey, 57% of civilian respondents ages 30 to 49 said they had an immediate family member who served. That dropped to 1/3 among respondents ages 18 to 29.


For God and Country,

Dave Wallace

Veteran Employment and Education Chair

August Veteran Unemployment Report