On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Veteran unemployment data for the month of September. The unemployment rate for all Veterans was 6.7 percent—more than a full percentage point lower than the national average of 7.8 percent, which is the lowest overall unemployment rate since January 2009.  For post-9/11 veterans, the rate fell to 9.7 percent.  While there is more work to do, it is very clear that the unemployment rate among all Veterans—to include America’s newest Veterans—is headed in the right direction. The charts below help us see why.

In the first, we see the monthly unemployment rate for all Veterans since January 2010.  The trend is clearly downward.

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. Like the chart above, the chart immediately below captures 12-month averages for the periods ending each month since January 2010. What it shows is a modest—but definitive—decline in the unemployment rate of Veterans.  The current 12-month average unemployment for Veterans is 7.3 percent—and this is the lowest figure we’ve seen during this administration.

This is significant because the moving 12-month average is a far more conservative measure than the month-to-month data. When we see movement in the rolling average, we can be confident that the unemployment rate among post-9/11 Veterans is, indeed, changing.

Post-9/11 Veterans are also continuing to experience a downward trend in unemployment.  For Iraq and Afghanistan-era Veterans (or Gulf War II-era Veterans), the monthly unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent in September. The chart below shows the declining unemployment rate over time.  While the month-to-month figures for this demographic are highly volatile, the longer term trend is a reliable measure that continues to show a consistent decline over more than two and a half years. This is a strong sign of recovery following the worst economic recession since The Great Depression.

As with all Veterans, the unemployment rate decline among post-9/11 Veterans is also reflected in the 12-month moving average. As we can see below, the rate has consistently fallen—modestly but definitively— throughout 2012. The rate over the past 12 months stands at 10.4 percent—which is tied with July 2012 for the lowest unemployment rate during this administration.

While all the numbers above are encouraging, we know our work isn’t done—and that there’s still much to do. In this economy, too many Veterans still can’t find meaningful work, and we’re working every day to remedy that.

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 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 Oct. 5, 2012

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  1. Robert Radel October 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    This number is false, the department of labor only counts those who draw unemployment. If your benefits run out your number goes too. Just alittle FYI. I’ve applied at 100 different places, but always here the same. Sorry we don’t see how your military experience can transfer over. As soon as they see I’m from the military they blow me off. No one cares about veterans, they think we all have PTSD. Good enough to keep them with what they,ve got, but not good enough to hire. Big shocker america forgeting about those that serve.

  2. Smith October 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I do not believe this number. I think Obama’s SECVA appointee is schilling for him. I applied for over 200 federal jobs from 2007-2011 and got one interview. A retired 05, with a masters in Education Administration, a certified secondary principal, passed my superintendent exam, and four years in the classroom. I was rated unqualified by forestry dept to be a teacher and given a failing score by the DODEA for assistant principal jobs. Veterans pref is a joke. all we have done for our country and our government has nothing but contempt for us. I took my 100% and SSDI and gave up.

  3. Robert ryall October 14, 2012 at 8:06 am

    I have lost my job will lose my home in weeks I more have no insurance for my family of for so wife and two kids andplusmyself. We are barely angie to feed our kids a property diet we make sure that the kids always eat first so there are literally days my wife and I don’t eat. Our van was repoed for being late and now we lost our car the was only about a year before our was payed off we enjoyed owed 3900 on it we can get out back this week our end have to buy a new car. The van need more work than wer able to or get back if we could get it back in time all we want to is give our kids what thy need,to make it safe for our kids like the breaks hardly worked and the electrical system isn’t working doors wouldn’t stay closed while driving plus the tires would constantly wear down to the the tread and isn’t safe for anyone. finacina car and a home and food. I’ve never claimed any of my benifits from the military but I really need help more please call me st 5415545789. Thank you for your

    • Kate Hoit October 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Hi Robert,

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation. VA might be able to help connect you with programs, etc. Please check out: http://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/for_at_risk_veterans.asp or you can also call VA at this number: 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).

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