Employment among Oregon’s Veterans
The unemployment rate for veterans in Oregon was 3.3% in 2021, according to the Current Population Survey. The unemployment rate for nonveterans was 5.3% in the same period. In the U.S. more broadly, veterans had a higher unemployment rate than their Oregon counterparts at 4.4%.
About 259,000 veterans lived in Oregon in 2021. The American Community Survey estimates that 71.9% of veterans ages 18 to 64 were in the labor force in 2021. The labor force participation rate of veterans in Oregon was lower than nonveterans (76.7%) and veterans (76.8%) nationally.
In 2021, Oregon’s veterans earned a higher median income ($44,415) than nonveterans ($36,166), despite being less likely to have a college degree. Among Oregon veterans age 25 years and older, 31% have a four-year degree or higher, compared with 37% of nonveterans. Alternatively, about 4% of veterans don’t have a high school diploma, as opposed to 9% of nonveterans.
Female veterans, who represented 9% of Oregon’s veterans in 2021, earned a median income of $37,690. That’s less than male veterans’ median of $45,094, but higher than female nonveterans’ income of $30,764.
Veterans are more likely to have a disability, but slightly less likely to be in poverty than the general population. Among veterans of working age, around 10% lived below the poverty level in 2021, just below the 12% poverty rate among nonveterans. Of the Oregon veterans living in poverty, more than half reported having a disability. Among veterans ages 18 to 65 living above the poverty line, only 33% have a disability.
More than half of Oregon’s veterans were age 65 years or older and served in the military at least four decades ago during the Vietnam War (98,247 veterans), Korean War (12,950), or World War II (2,985). Veterans who served in the First and Second Gulf Wars totaled 103,908. Only 7% of Oregon veterans were under the age of 35 in 2021, compared with 30% of nonveterans. This older age profile may partially explain why veterans have a lower labor force participation rate, a higher median income, and higher disability rates than nonveterans.
In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau launched Veteran Employment Outcomes, an online tool for examining labor market outcomes for recently discharged Army veterans. Tabulated by military specialization, service characteristics, employer industry, and demographics, the interactive tool allows for comparing veteran wages across different factors. The tool can be accessed at https://lehd.ces.census.gov/applications/veo.
More information about veterans is available in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Employment Situation of Veterans”.