Employment Among Oregon’s Veterans

by Felicia Bechtoldt

November 9, 2017

In 2016, the unemployment rate for veterans in Oregon was 6.3 percent, according to the Current Population Survey. This was higher than Oregon’s overall unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. Across the U.S., veterans had a lower unemployment rate of 4.3 percent.
About 323,000 veterans lived in Oregon in 2016. More than half of veterans (172,000) were not in the labor force. This figure is related to the age of veterans in Oregon as, according to the American Community Survey, more than half of Oregon’s veterans were age 65 years or older and served in the military at least four decades ago: Vietnam War era veterans (115,500), Korean War (27,200), and World War II veterans (14,300). Gulf-War era I and II veterans accounted for 96,300.

Around 142,000 of the 151,000 veterans in the labor force were employed, with 117,000 being employed full time and 25,000 part time. About 9,000 veterans were unemployed, which accounted for 9.4 percent of the unemployed population (96,000) in the state. Over the last decade, unemployed veterans made up between 6.5 percent and 10.1 percent of the overall unemployed population in the state.
Veterans are employed across all industries. In the United States, manufacturing (12.7% of veterans); professional and business services (10.8%); retail trade (8.2%); private education
and health services (8.2%); and transportation and utilities (7.4%) are industries where a high number of veterans are employed. About 21.8 percent of veterans work in government.

Veterans work in various occupations across the U.S. About 20.0 percent of veterans worked in professional and related occupations; 19.7 percent worked in management, business and financial occupations; 14.0 percent in service occupations; and 10.2 percent in transportation and material moving occupations.

In 2016, Oregon’s veterans earned a higher median income ($36,959) than nonveterans ($27,432). Education could be one of the factors influencing veterans’ higher median income. Among Oregon veterans ages 25 years and older, 41.6 percent have an associate’s degree or some college compared with 33.8 percent of nonveterans. About 5.3 percent of veterans don’t have a high school diploma, while 10.2 percent of nonveterans don’t have a high school diploma. Higher educational attainment generally translates into higher earnings.

Female veterans, who represented 7.4 percent of Oregon’s veterans, earned a median income of $30,531, less than male veterans’ median of $37,634, but higher than female nonveterans’ income of $22,917.
Veterans are more likely to have a disability, but less likely to be in poverty than the general population. About 33.3 percent of Oregon’s veterans reported having a service-connected disability, compared with 17.6 percent of the total civilian population. About 7.4 percent of veterans were in poverty compared with about 12.4 percent of the total civilian population.

For more information about veterans, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Employment Situation of Veterans” or the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Highlighting Our Nation’s Veterans”.


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