Yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on veterans’ unemployment for 2012. We analyzed the data and found that the unemployment rate for female Gulf War-era II veterans is substantially higher than for male veterans and, unlike the rate for male veterans, did not improve in the past year.

Here are six facts you need to know about unemployment among Gulf War-era II veterans:

  • The overall unemployment rate of Gulf War-era II veterans (those who have served on active duty any time since September 2001) declined to 9.9 percent in 2012 from 12.1 percent in 2011. However, women did not share in the decline in unemployment among Gulf War-era II veterans in 2012 – the unemployment rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans declined to 9.5 percent from 12.0 percent. The unemployment rate of female Gulf War-era II veterans in 2012, 12.5 percent, was essentially unchanged from 2011 (12.4 percent).
  • Since data on the unemployment rates of Gulf War-era II veterans began being collected in 2008, the rate for female Gulf War-era II veterans hit its all-time high in 2012. The rate for male Gulf War-era II veterans in 2012 is below their 2009 rate of 9.9 percent.
  • Unemployed Gulf War-era II veterans are disproportionately female. Female Gulf War-era II veterans represented only 14 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans in the labor force but they represented 18 percent of all unemployed Gulf War-era II veterans.
  • Both male and female veterans have substantially higher unemployment rates than their non-veteran counterparts – but the gap is wider for women. The unemployment rate of male Gulf War-era II veterans in 2012 (9.5 percent) was 1.4 percentage points higher than the unemployment rate of all male non-veterans 18 and older (8.1 percent). The gulf between female Gulf War-era II veterans and non-veterans 18 an older was far greater: the unemployment rate of female Gulf War-era II veterans in 2012 (12.5 percent) was 4.8 percentage points higher than the unemployment rate of all female non-veterans 18 and older (7.7 percent).
  • The gender disparity in unemployment rates was especially large for older Gulf War-era II veterans. Among male Gulf War-era II veterans ages 45 to 54, the unemployment rate in 2012 was 5.6 percent – for female veterans in this age group this figure was 19.0 percent.
  • A quarter of employed male and female Gulf War-era II veterans are employed in the public sector; nearly 14 percent of male and female Gulf War-era II veterans are employed by the federal government. Comparatively, only 14 percent of employed non-veterans work in the public sector and only 2.1 percent of employed non-veterans work in the federal government. The public sector was the only major employment sector that lost jobs between January 2012 and January 2013, and is likely to shed even more jobs if further budget cuts are enacted.