The U.S. Department of Labor released updated monthly unemployment numbers this morning, and there’s little good news: the overall unemployment rate remains unchanged at 8.2 percent. While the economy added some 80,000 jobs in June, that’s lower than what was projected and much less than what’s needed to move the needle on the jobless rate.
Of particular interest to our readers is the unemployment rate for veterans, which is a brighter picture. Overall, the veterans’ unemployment rate has shown some improvement over the last year—at 7.4 percent, the jobless rate for veterans overall is a little lower than for the general population.
But for post-9/11veterans, the report offers some additional glimmer of hope. While their unemployment rate is still higher than the national average at 9.5 percent (see the listing for “Gulf War-era II Veterans” on this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), that’s down from a staggering 13.3 percent a year ago.
Big month-to-month changes in veterans’ unemployment can be the result of statistical flukes because the Labor Department’s monthly report is based on a survey of about 200,000 people, of whom just 22,000 are veterans. The June survey included just 2,600 people who left active duty since Sept. 11, 2001, to draw conclusions about the jobless rate for the newest generation of veterans.
Still, the statistical improvement comes amidst a continuing expansion of federal and private-sector programs aimed at helping veterans get jobs.
The new jobless numbers for veterans are showing improvement, but the broader picture is of an economy that continues to struggle. As more veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan and seek to integrate into the civilian workforce, here’s hoping they continue to find opportunities.