Checking in on Veterans Employment Trends

by Rachel Vilsack

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent report on veteran’s employment trends points to improving conditions nationwide. The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001 declined by 2.2 percentages point to 9.9 percent in 2012.


Post September 2001, or Gulf War-era II, veterans display some unique characteristics compared to previous groups of veterans. In 2012:

  • About 17 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans were women, compared with 3 percent of veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam  era.
  • Almost half of all Gulf War-era II veterans were between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • In 2012, the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans age 18 to 24 was 20.0 percent, and the rate for male veterans age 25 to 34 was 10.4 percent; both higher than the rate for nonveterans of the same age groups.
  • A higher proportion of employed Gulf War-era II veterans worked in the public sector in 2012 than employed nonveterans, at 25 and 14 percent, respectively.
  • Twenty-eight percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability, compared with 14 percent of all veterans.


Job seeking veterans will find many free resources available in Minnesota. Veterans employment representatives are located at WorkForce Centers statewide to guide veterans. They also work closely with employers to develop job opportunities for veterans and to advocate of their behalf.  Many job clubs and career fairs are available only to Minnesota veterans; a full calendar is available online. There are also some specialty websites to assist veterans in translating and marketing their military skill set to employers and civilian jobs.


Mark your calendar for the recently announced Minnesota Veterans Career Fair! The annual fair will be held July 16, 2013 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center.  The career fair is free and open to all military veterans, regardless of the era of service. Check the website for a list of exhibitors and tips on how to prepare for a career fair.



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