Veterans make up almost one-third of the federal workforce, up 5 percentage points since President Obama took office, according to new data released by the Office of Personnel Management on Veterans Day.

That translates into more than 623,000 veterans working in civilian federal posts, 31 percent of the 2 million individuals working in civilian government jobs.

In a statement, OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert said the hirings are not a matter of obligation but instead about getting highly-qualified workers into those positions.

"Veterans bring distinctive training, skills, leadership, and experiences that we need at every agency in the federal government," she said.

In 2009, Obama signed an executive order mandating increased hiring preferences and efforts for veterans, calling it both "a sacred obligation" for the country and an important model for private sector businesses.

Veteran employees make up 33 percent of the Department of Veterans Affairs nearly 366,000-person workforce, and 47 percent of the Department of Defense's 320,000 civilian employees.

But the hirings go beyond just departments directly related to their military experience. More than 25 percent of the Department of Justice’s workforce are veterans, and nearly 28 percent of the Department of Homeland Security workers have served in the military. Another 37 percent of Department of Transportation employees are veterans.

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About 12 percent of the federal workforce -- about 241,000 individuals -- are disabled veterans. Of those, about 146,000 have a disability rating of more than 30 percent.

The average veteran working in federal government is 49 years old, making a salary of about $74,000 a year. More than 90 percent of them hold jobs outside the Washington, D.C. metro area.

About 4.3 percent of veterans in America are currently unemployed, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released earlier this month. Of the nearly 21 million veterans nationwide, about 10.2 million are working, and another 10.1 million are retired, in school, or unable to work due to disabilities.

Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at lshane@militarytimes.com .