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Economic News Release
CPS CPS Program Links

Employment Situation of Veterans Technical Note

Technical Note

   The data in this release were collected through the Current Population Sur-
vey (CPS). The CPS--a monthly survey of about 60,000 households conducted by
the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics--obtains information
on employment and unemployment among the nation's civilian noninstitutional
population age 16 and over.

   Most of the data in this release are annual averages for 2010, compiled from
the results of the monthly survey. Some of the data, such as those related to
service-connected disability and Reserve or National Guard status, are from 
special questions asked as part of the latest veterans supplement to the CPS,
which was conducted in July 2010. The supplement was co-sponsored by the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs and by the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans'
Employment and Training Service. Questions were asked of persons 17 years of
age and older regarding their prior service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Data are
tabulated for persons 18 years of age and older.

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired
individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay
Service: (800) 877-8339.


   The definitions underlying the data in this release are as follows:

   Veterans are men and women who previously served on active duty in the U.S.
Armed Forces. Members of the Reserve and National Guard are counted as veterans
if they had ever been called  to active duty. Persons who are on active duty at
the time of the survey are outside the scope of the survey and thus not in the
estimates shown here, as are persons who reside in institutions, such as nursing
homes and prisons.

   Nonveterans are men and women who never served on active duty in the U.S.
Armed Forces.

   World War II, Korean War, Vietnam-era, and Gulf War-era veterans are men and
women who served in the Armed Forces during these periods, regardless of where
they served. Veterans who served in more than one wartime period are classified
in the most recent one.

   Veterans of other service periods are men and women who served in the Armed
Forces at any time other than World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam era, or
the Gulf War era. Although U.S. Armed Forces were engaged in several armed con-
flicts during other service periods, these conflicts were more limited in scope
and included a smaller proportion of the Armed Forces than the selected wartime
periods. Veterans who served during one of the selected wartime periods and
during another period are classified in the wartime period.

   Veteran status is obtained from responses to the question, "Did you ever serve
on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces?"

   Period of service is obtained from answers to the question asked of veterans,
"When did you serve on active duty in the  U.S. Armed Forces?" 

   The following service periods are identified:

      Gulf War era II -- September 2001-present
      Gulf War era I  -- August 1990-August 2001
      Vietnam era     -- August 1964-April 1975
      Korean War      -- July 1950-January 1955
      World War II    -- December 1941-December 1946
      Other service periods -- All other time periods

   Period-of-service definitions are modified occasionally to reflect changes in
law, regulations, and program needs of the survey sponsors.

   Veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both are individuals who served in
Iraq at any time since March 2003, in Afghanistan at any time since October 2001,
or in both locations. Service in Iraq or Afghanistan is determined by answers to
two questions, "Did you serve in Iraq, off the coast of Iraq, or did you fly mis-
sions over Iraq at anytime since March 2003?" and Did you serve in Afghanistan, or
did you fly missions over Afghanistan, at anytime since October 2001?"

   Presence of service-connected disability is determined by answers to the ques-
tion,"Has the Department of Veterans Affairs (or Department of Defense (DoD) deter-
mined that you have a service-connected disability, that is, a health condition or
impairment caused or made worse by any of your military service?"

   Service-connected disability rating is based on answers to the question, "What
is your current service-connected disability rating?" Answers can range from 0 to
100 percent, in increments of 10 percentage points. Ratings are determined by the
VA or DoD from a rating schedule published in the Code of Federal Regulations,
Title 38, "Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief," Part 4--"Schedule for Rating
Disabilities." The rating schedule is "primarily a guide in the evaluation of dis-
ability resulting from all types of diseases and injuries encountered as a result
of or incident to military service. The percentage ratings represent as far as can
practicably be determined the average impairment in earning capacity resulting from
such diseases and injuries and their residual conditions in civil occupations." 
Part 4 contains a listing of hundreds of possible disorders and assigns ratings of
0 through 100 percent, with instructions for rating multiple disorders.

   Reserve or National Guard status is obtained from answers to two questions. Gulf
War-era veterans were asked: "Was any of your active service the result of a call-up
from the Reserve or National Guard?" If the answer was no, they were asked, "Have you
ever been a member of the Reserve or National Guard?" A 'yes' response to either ques-
tion classified persons as "Current or past member of the Reserve or National Guard."
A 'no' response to the latter question classified persons as "Never a member of the
Reserve or National Guard." These questions were asked only of Gulf War-era veterans.

Reliability of the estimates

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error.
When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there is a chance that
the sample estimates will differ from the "true" population values they represent.
The exact difference, or sampling error, varies depending on the particular sample 
selected, and this variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate.
There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on
a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the "true" population
value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-per-
cent level of confidence

   The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling error can occur
for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the population, the
inability to obtain information for all respondents in the sample, the inability or
unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, and errors made in the
collection or processing of the data

   For a full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and information on
estimating standard errors, see the explanatory note for the household survey avail-
able online at

Last Modified Date: October 03, 2023