On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Veteran unemployment data for the month of June. The unemployment rate for one closely watched group, Iraq and Afghanistan-era Veterans (or Gulf War II-era Veterans), fell more than three full percentage points to 9.5 percent. The steadier 12-month moving average also fell to 10.7 percent—the lowest figure we’ve seen since 2010.

While much remains to be done, since January 2012, post-9/11 Veterans have experienced the lowest unemployment rate in any combined six-month period since 2008—with the rate reaching single digits in four of the last six months. Additionally, the trend over the past 30 months—since January 2010—remains downward for America’s most recent Veterans.

Month-to-month unemployment rate figures for this demographic are fairly volatile, but the long-term trend has shown a consistent decline over this two and a half-year period—a strong sign of recovery following the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression.

Because chunks of data are often better indicators of real movement, another way to view the trend is by looking at the moving (or rolling) average. The chart below captures 12-month averages for the periods ending each month since December 2010. This chart looks a bit different, but the trend is similar: modest, but markedly downward. This is significant because the moving 12-month average is far more conservative than the month-to-month data. When we see downward movement in the moving average, we can be confident that the unemployment rate among post-9/11 Veterans is, indeed, falling.

All that said, while we’re heartened that the unemployment rate among younger Veterans has fallen over the long term, it is still too high as long as thousands of returning Veterans still can’t find meaningful work.

That’s why VA is collaborating with the White House and the Chamber of Commerce on hiring fairs across the country through the “Hiring Our Heroes” Program. It’s also why we’re urging Veterans to prepare themselves for the job market by taking advantage of programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Veterans Retraining and Assistance Program (VRAP).

If anything, today’s positive figure reminds us that there’s still much work to be done. VA, in conjunction with the White House, remains committed to ensuring that the unemployment rate for all Veterans continues its downward path.

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Published on Jul. 6, 2012

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  1. Jose Mateo July 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I attended a few job fairs and didn’t get any results. I’m a young veteran and when I inquired about a Secret Service job at one of this job fairs, the agent looked at me like I was crazy and basically implied that the position was available for someone with a masters degree in criminal justice. The job fair targeted E-5 and below personnel, and honestly I do not know that many that hold a Masters Degree to begin with… My college has been more efficient at finding me job opportunities than these “job fairs”. I really appreciate the help and I understand the organizations that hold these job fairs have good intentions, but the companies are not really helping.

    • Al July 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      Jose, its called false propaganda and I wouldn’t say all the organizations hosting job fairs have good intentions. For some of them, its about profiting from the employers who participate because everything comes at a cost. Its the make up of their business model. Its also good PR for companies to claim they are hiring veterans but we know what really happens after the brief dialogue. The veteran ends up getting the run around or never hear back after providing a resume. Job fairs, for the most part, are pointless and a waste of time.

  2. Jim July 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I cant believe anyone is “bragging” about Vets 9.5% unemployment rate! Its horrible and you should be ashamed for suggesting Veterans “settle” for much less than they deserve…a job!
    According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, this 9.5% is almost double what it was in Jan 2008 when unemployment was 5%. Many suggest it is actually much worse than the numbers suggest, as many people have given up looking for a job!
    This reeks of political propaganda in an effort for politicians to sacrifice peoples jobs so they (politicians) can have a job for another 4 years. You must think Vets are pretty stupid to think that 9.5% unemployment is “good”.

  3. Jonathan Lubecky SGT(R) July 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Actually, if you look at all the numbers not just the unemployment number, the tale is a little different. I am looking at June 2011 and June 2012. There was a drop in the Participation Rate of Post 9/11 Veterans 2.5% from 81.90% to 79.4%, Also of note is that during this time, the population of Post 9/11 Veterans grew by 210,000, with only 106,000 joining the labor force and 104,000 leaving the Labor Force entirely. Interestingly, if you include those not in the Labor Force and those Unemployed (I would love to get U-6 stats) the total percentage of those post-9/11 Veterans who are not working is 28%. Not exactly a rosy picture.

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