Veteran Unemployment Stats in 2020

A Look at Veteran Unemployment Stats in 2020

Veteran employment and hiring have been a key driving force in reintegrating the 200,000 men and women who leave military service every year. In a pre-COVID world, veteran unemployment has always been a problem facing businesses attune to more inclusive recruitment and onboarding programs. While far from perfect, many of these efforts have significantly reduced veteran unemployment and helped them make healthy transitions into life after active service. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, both the economy and the job market have gone through what can only be called a hard reset.

From a predominantly candidate-favorable market, the needle has swung to favor employers. At the same time, the economic impact of the virus has been extremely far-reaching, affecting businesses of all sizes across different industries. This has placed employers in the difficult position of having to evaluate hiring decisions, given the uncertain times and the ever-present threat of another economic shutdown. Against this volatile backdrop, veteran employment has seen its fair share of disruption. This blog discusses some of the most important veteran employment trends from the Bureau of Labor Statistics disclosed in 2020.

The Sharp Rise in Veteran Unemployment Rates

In a statistical report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 20.5 million Americans have swelled the ranks of unemployed citizens. This has caused a sharp 14.7% rise in overall unemployment. While this in itself is a very alarming situation, both for employers and employees, it does not fully illustrate how intense the impact of COVID-19 has been on the veteran’ subset.

Read Also: What Makes Veterans the Best Choice in Any Hiring Market?

Before 2020, the veteran unemployment rate stood at just 4.1%. During the period up to April 2020, this figure has increased dramatically to 11.7%. For post-9/11 veterans, unemployment rates are estimated at an ominous 13%. This poses several important questions, the most important of which is whether businesses can maintain veteran-first employment drives in the current environment.

Younger Veterans are Seeing the Highest Unemployment Rates

The veteran demographic is surprisingly diverse, ranging from veterans who have fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as Gulf War veterans and post-9/11 vets. For the purpose of this discussion, let us simplify demographics by separating them by age, using 9/11 as the bifurcation point. The youngest group of veterans who enlisted after 9/11 are aged between 18 to 24 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this particular demographic has seen the highest levels of unemployment.

Veterans in this group have faced the staggeringly high unemployment rate of 36.1%. This is particularly disturbing considering that the unemployment rate for this demographic before the coronavirus pandemic stood at just 4.9%. There are slightly over 1 million unemployed veterans at this time, aged 18 and above. Moreover, 46% of these have been without employment for over 5 weeks.

Veteran Unemployment by Gender

The post-9/11 subset itself has two major subsets; namely male and female veterans aged 18 and above. The female veteran unemployment rate was already higher than the national veteran average at an estimated 6.2%. From March 2020 to April 2020, this has jumped to 20%. In the same period, the total unemployment rate for all female veterans has climbed all the way up to 14%. This is still less than the total figure for unemployed nonveteran females at 15.5%.

Reading Suggestion: Tips for Veteran Employees to Improve Their Chances of Being Hired

By comparison, in the same period, the rise in post-9/11 male veteran unemployment was slightly lower at 11.8%. This is also lower than the average unemployment rates for all US veterans. The increase for total male veterans has increased to 11.4% in the same period, which is still less than total female veteran unemployment.

POC Veteran Unemployment

The United States military is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse organizations in the world, boasting service members from varying backgrounds and ethnicities. Veterans of African-American or Hispanic descent make up a very significant portion of the US military veteran talent pool.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact have been agnostic when it comes to racial or ethnic differences for the most part. Post-9/11 African-American veteran unemployment is only slightly higher than the non-African veteran unemployment rate of 16.3%. For African-American veterans aged 18 and over, this figure is 16.5%. At the same time, unemployment in post-9/11 Hispanic veterans has grown every month to 15.7% in April 2020.

Looking for a Job? Great! We Can Help.

Are You a Veteran? Even Better – That’s Our Expertise