Oregon's Veterans: Labor Force Participation and Unemployment Ratesby Brian RooneyPublished May-30-2012
The Current Population Survey
provides employment and unemployment data on the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces. At the state level, this information is available on an average annual basis.
Lower Labor Force Participation
Labor force participation rates for veterans and nonveterans are measured by taking the sum of both employed and unemployed
persons in each category, then dividing it by the total civilian noninstitutional population for that group. The civilian noninstitutional population does not include active members of the armed forces, individuals in nursing homes, prison inmates, and so on.
The nonveteran labor force participation rates in Oregon and nationwide have been generally stable near the 70 percent level from 2003 to 2011. Veterans have substantially lower participation rates over the period. In 2003, the labor force participation rate for all veterans in the U.S. was 56.8 percent, compared to 69.4 percent for nonveterans. Oregon showed a similar disparity in participation, with a 58.2 percent rate for veterans and 70.5 percent for nonveterans.
Unemployment Rates for Veterans
The average annual unemployment rate
for Oregon's veterans ages 20 and over was 11.4 percent in 2011. Across the U.S., veterans faced a lower rate (8.3%). However, veterans have generally had a lower unemployment rate than nonveterans between 2003 and 2011. After several years following the national trend of lower veteran unemployment, the jobless rate for Oregon veterans jumped in 2011. In fact, the 2011 unemployment rate for veterans (11.4%) was 3.1 percentage points above the nonveteran rate. However, the nominal unemployment rate for Oregon veterans has outpaced that of veterans nationwide nearly every year since 2003.
Lane County Veteran's Labor Force Data
A separate survey, the American Community Survey
(ACS), provides 2010 veteran's labor force data at the county level. It is not directly comparable to the CPS data, but can provide comparisons between veterans and nonveterans.
According to the 2010 ACS data, Lane County veterans had a lower labor force participation rate than nonveterans. Similar to the CPS data, nonveterans experienced a labor force participation rate of 74 percent while veterans were lower at 67 percent. It's likely that the younger age of today's veterans contribute to the lower participation rate by attending school.
The unemployment rate in 2010 was substantially lower for veterans compared with nonveterans at 9.2 percent compared with 12.8 percent. This result is also similar to the CPS data for Oregon in 2010.
The Current Population Survey analysis presented in this article is summarized from an article written by Gail Krumenauer ( www.qualityinfo.org/olmisj/ArticleReader?itemid=00007704).