Employment Characteristics of Gulf War-Era II Veterans in 2006: A Visual Essay

Article excerpt

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Armed Forces entered into a new period: Gulf War era II. (1) This era follows Gulf War era 1, which extends from August 1990 to August 2001. During Gulf War era II, troops deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other locations. A sizable number of troops were called up from the Reserve and the National Guard. This visual essay, examines the characteristics of the 1.2 million veterans 18 to 54 years old who served in this new era and shows how they have been faring in the labor market after returning to civilian life.

The information to be presented was obtained from Gulf War-era II veterans or members of their households in 2006. Military personnel on active duty at the time of the survey are excluded. Data are 2006 annual averages and were collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of about 60,000 households that provides national data on civilian employment and unemployment. (2)

Gulf War-era II veterans are men and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces anywhere in the world sometime between September 2001 and the time they were surveyed in 2006. Members of the Reserve and National Guard are counted as veterans if they, have ever been called to active duty. Nonveterans have never served on active duty in the U.S. military Data about veterans who served in other periods are not included in this essay, but are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The 2006 data are the first annual average statistics available that separately identify Gulf War-era 11 veterans. Previously, all Gulf War-era veterans (who served since August 1990) were grouped together into one category. Veterans who served in both Gulf War era I and Gulf War era II are classified into the latter category.

CPS data on veterans are of keen interest to a range of users, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U. S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service, as well as congressional committees, veterans' service organizations, the news media, and academic researchers. This essay was prepared by James A. Walker, an economist in the Division of Labor Force Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Phone: (202) 691-6378. E-mail: walker.james@bls.gov.

1. Gulf War-era II veterans are younger than nonveterans


* The Gulf War-era II veteran population is younger than the nonveteran population. In 2006, Gulf War-era II veterans under 35 years of age--those 18 to 24 years old (24.4 percent) and 25 to 34 years old (39.8 percent)--made up 64.2 percent of the Gulf War-era II veteran population. By contrast, the under-35-year-old nonveteran population in 2006 was 33.2 percent of the nonveteran population.

* Few Gulf War-era II veterans were 55 years or older (4.4 percent) in 2006. However, this age group accounted for 26.6 percent of the total nonveteran population. As a result, the large nonveteran population aged 55 years and older significantly influences any comparison made between Gulf War-era 11 veterans and nonveterans. Therefore, the charts that follow compare Gulf War-era 11 veterans aged 18 to 54 years with nonveterans in the same age group.

* The population referenced in this essay is the civilian noninstitutional population, which includes all persons residing in any of the 50 States or the District of Columbia. The definition excludes people who live in institutions (such as nursing homes, correctional facilities, juvenile detention facilities, and long-terra mental health care facilities) and those who are currently on active duty in the Armed Forces.

2. Men make up most of the Gulf War-era II veteran population


* In 2006, 82.4 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans aged 18 to 54 years were men, compared with 47.4 percent of nonveterans of the same age. Since September 2001, nearly 1 million men in the 18-to-54-years age group had served in the Armed Forces and returned to civilian life. …