In 2013, American veterans had an unemployment rate of 6.5%, with disabled American veterans at 6.2%. The unemployment rate varies from state to state, with more than 10% in Michigan and New Jersey, and less than 4% in Delaware, Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont and Virginia.
The new regulations require these Federal employers to be more proactive in hiring and retaining "protected veterans" (see definition below). All employers must establish their own annual benchmarks for hiring veterans in one of two ways. They must either use the national benchmark of the current percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force (currently 7.2%), or they must create their own benchmark based on numerous factors, including their state's veteran-to-civilian ratio, the availability of veterans who are properly qualified to perform the necessary job requirements, etc.
A "protected" veteran is defined as one of the following:
- Disabled Veteran: A veteran who served on active duty and is entitled to disability compensation because of a service-connected disability.
- Recently Separated Veteran: Any veteran who was discharged within the past 3 years. A veteran no longer qualifies under this heading once he has been out of the military for more than 3 years.
- Armed Forces Service Medal Veteran: A veteran who participated in a military operation and received an Armed Forces Service Ribbon.
- Other Protected Veteran: A veteran who served on active duty when a campaign badge was authorized under the DoD.
Two databases were recently founded to help Federal employers meet these requirements.