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Veterans in the labor force; new Spotlight on injuries and illnesses

This week, BLS released a report on the labor market situation of our nation’s military veterans in 2013. In 2013, 21.4 million men and women, or 9 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 18 and over, were veterans. Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era accounted for nearly half (9.8 million) of the total veteran population in 2013. Over one quarter of veterans (6.1 million) served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001) or Gulf War era II (September 2001 forward). Another quarter (5.5 million) served outside these wartime periods. The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans edged down to 9.0 percent in 2013. The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down to 6.6 percent. Twenty-nine percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability in August 2013, compared with 15 percent of all veterans. Of the disabled Gulf War-era II veterans, 70.5 percent were in the labor force in August 2013, compared with a labor force participation rate of 85.4 percent for veterans from this period with no service-connected disability. Among Gulf War-era II veterans, the unemployment rate of those with a disability was 8.6 percent, not statistically different from those with no disability.

Also this week, BLS published a new edition of Spotlight on Statistics that presents a series of graphics on injuries and illnesses among state and local government workers. These public-sector employees experienced a higher incidence rate of work-related injuries and illnesses than their private-industry counterparts. The total rate of injuries and illnesses in 2011 remained highest in local government workplaces, at 6.1 cases per 100 full-time workers, compared with 4.6 cases per 100 workers in state government and 3.5 cases in private industry. These differences can be attributed in part to different industry and occupational composition. For example, state and local government workers are more concentrated in healthcare and public safety jobs that have greater risk of work injury or illness. The rate of injuries and illnesses in police protection was 11.3 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2011, and the rate for fire protection was 13.5 cases.