Veterans and the Job Market


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s good reason for job seeking veterans to be optimistic. In the agency’s annual Employment Situation for Veterans Summary, the bureau found that unemployment for veterans edged down in 2016 to 4.3 percent from 4.6 percent the year prior. That put unemployment amongst veterans sharply lower than the national average, which came in at 4.9 percent for 2016.

Still, the summary showed variances among unemployed veterans across different groups and regions (2016 annual averages, except where noted):



60 percent of unemployed veterans were 45 years-old and over, while the rate dropped significantly for those aged 18 to 24 at just 4 percent.



The unemployment rate for female veterans was 5.0 percent, compared to males at 4.2 percent.



Among racial groups measured, Asian veterans had the lowest rate of unemployment at 2.1 percent, with African Americans the highest at 5.5 percent.



In August 2016, veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, which closely resembled non-disabled veterans at 4.7 percent.



Indiana had the lowest unemployment rate for veterans at 1.8 percent, while the District of Columbia was the highest at 7.6 percent.

Considering the disparity in numbers, it’s important that officials continue to look at ways to close the gap for all veterans seeking employment.

Aside from basic prerequisites such as building a resume, monitoring job boards, creating employment alerts, writing cover letters, and networking with friends and colleagues, veterans sometimes face unique challenges when looking for a career.  While many employers would be happy to include veterans on their staff, others may assume that a veteran hire will need special attention or that their job skills won’t translate to nonmilitary work. For veterans with mental or physical disabilities, stigmas can be an even larger obstacle to overcome.

As a means to employ all veterans, there are a variety of resources available through both governmental and private organizations. The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs and U.S. Department of Labor offer a host of information and services, as do nonprofits such as Hire Heroes.


United States Department of Labor - Employment Situations of Veterans Summary

Hire Heroes USA

New York Times - Coming Home to Damaging Stereotypes

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - Veterans Employment Toolkit

U.S. Department of Labor Blog - By the Numbers: Veterans Unemployment Continues Downward Trend - The Top 5 Challenges Veterans Face Today