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Post-9/11 Veterans Earn More, Work More Hours Than Those Who Never Served in Armed Forces

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Employment among the nation’s three million post-9/11 veterans was higher from 2014 to 2018 than it was among those who never served in the armed forces, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report released today.

In the 2014-2018 period, about 80% of post-9/11 veterans were employed compared with only 75% of nonveterans.

In contrast with older veteran groups, such as those from the Vietnam era or Gulf War, post-9/11 veterans encountered very different labor markets after returning from the armed forces. As a result, post-9/11 veterans represent a unique and growing segment of the veteran population and the broader U.S. workforce.

Employment Characteristics of Post-9/11 Veterans

In the 2014-2018 period, about 80% of post-9/11 veterans were employed compared with only 75% of nonveterans.

Among the employed, post-9/11 veterans were also more likely than nonveterans to work year-round (50 to 52 weeks a year) and full-time (35 hours or more a week). About 81% of post-9/11 veterans and 71% of nonveterans had year-round, full-time jobs.

Post-9/11 veterans worked longer hours than nonveterans – an average of two hours longer for men (44 hours a week vs. 42) and nearly three hours longer each week for women (40 hours vs. 37 hours).

They were also more likely than nonveterans to work for federal, state, or local governments. For example, 32% of post-9/11 male veterans worked in government compared to 10% of male nonveterans. In contrast, male nonveterans were more likely to work in the private sector (81% vs. 63% of post-9/11 veterans).

Post-9/11 veterans earned more than nonveterans depending on their education level: a median $46,000 a year compared to about $35,000 for nonveterans.

Occupations Among Post-9/11 Veterans

Among people employed year-round and full-time, post-9/11 veterans often were overrepresented in only a few occupation groups (Figure 1).

For instance, a greater proportion of veterans than nonveterans were employed in protective service occupations, such as police officer, firefighter and similar jobs.

Post-9/11 veterans also were frequently in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations and less regularly in office and administrative support, sales, and related occupations.



These results are roughly consistent with the notion that post-9/11 veterans seek civilian jobs that utilize their military skills and training. For more information about how veterans’ military occupations relate to their civilian employment, see How Do Recent Veterans Fare in the Labor Market?

Occupations Among Men and Women by Veteran Status

In addition to overall differences in employment between post-9/11 veterans and nonveterans, the proportion of workers in different occupations varied by sex.

The figures below show the percentage of men and women who were post-9/11 veterans and nonveterans employed year-round and full-time in 24 occupation groups and which jobs are more common for each group.

Top occupation groups for men, whether they were post-9/11 veterans or nonveterans, were: management; installation, maintenance, and repair; and production.

However, post-9/11 veteran men were more likely than their nonveteran peers to work in protective service and office and administrative support occupations.

In contrast, a greater percentage of men who never served were employed in construction and extraction occupations and sales and related occupations.



The pattern was similar among women. Post-9/11 veteran and nonveteran women also shared four of the same top occupation groups: office and administrative support, health care practitioners and technical, management, and sales and related.

Among the remaining occupation groups, a larger percentage of post-9/11 veteran women worked in business and financial operations, while more nonveterans worked in educational instruction and library occupations.



Clayton Gumber and Jonathan Vespa are survey statisticians in the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division.


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Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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