On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Veteran unemployment data for the month of October. The unemployment rate for all Veterans was 6.3 percent—well below the national average of 7.9 percent.  For post-9/11 veterans, the rate was 10 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 over nearly three years 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 rate for Veterans is 7.2 percent—and this is the lowest figure we’ve seen during this administration. In fact, the 12-month moving average has fallen for six straight months—and it hasn’t risen from one month to the next in nearly a year and a half.

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—which it is.

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 ticked up slightly to 10 percent in October. However, the chart below demonstrates the declining unemployment rate over time.  Because the month-to-month figures for this demographic are highly volatile, the longer term trend is a more reliable measure that continues to show a consistent decline over nearly three years. This is the strongest sign yet of recovery in the area of Veteran employment following the worst economic recession since The Great Depression.

As expected, the falling unemployment rate among post-9/11 Veterans is 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 has now fallen to 10.2 percent—the lowest average 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.

Share this story

Published on Nov. 2, 2012

Estimated reading time is 2.9 min.

Views to date: 251


  1. Aaron Olson November 15, 2012 at 1:13 am

    It is absolutely unbelievable to me that the VRAP has only been around for one year. Veterans come back to the United States with incredible skills in many different disciplines: mechanics, electronics, and many medical fields that it is angering to me that we often brush them aside. Veterans should absolutely a bipartisan priority every single year. It should be the goal each year to have as many veterans gain employment as possible. I do realize that some veterans cannot become employed because of injuries or mental conditions, but we do not take care of those individuals either. The VA’s claims backlog operates at such a slow rate that many veterans wait months before they can receive compensation for their disabilities. Again, I don’t see that veterans as a priority currently and I think that needs to change. Whether that means more funding or more staff from the VA and similar organizations. However, it is encouraging to see the numbers of unemployment for veterans falling. People are realizing the amazing potential that veterans can bring to a job and the value that they can add. Employers should look to work alongside government to take care of our veterans. More funding, more staffing, more awareness of veterans potential, and more assistance for veterans retraining; those are the tools that we need to see veterans employment to continue to go down.

  2. charles keller November 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I’m a honorably discharged vet in both active and reserves i have an electronics background also a licensed commercial diver and I cannot find a job .Ive looked all over the country and cannot find a job so if our employment rating is going down its only made up or in the democrats mind of the obama backers trying to help the the non qualified and incompetent president,that will eventually lead america to bankruptcy…

  3. Disgruntled Vet November 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I know this is BS because my wife and I have never been considered by the Bureau of Labor as unemployed. Me one year and my wife 8 years. They are not interested to hear the words unemployed when I retired from military service at 45 years old and still cannot get a job. My wife is a 14 year veteran and veteran’s and spouse preference did absolutely nothing for her 100+ federal applications. I’ve now been turned down for over 100 federal jobs, all of which I was well qualified, master’s degree, 25 years of decorated leadership training and experience, and on top of that a 10-point veteran. What the hell gives bureau of labor?

  4. Don Elliott November 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Pure crap! I’m like thousands of vets. I work 10-12 hours per MONTH so the VA says I’m employed. We survive and that’s about all you can call it. If I had gas money to burn I could go 70 miles for VA medical care.

    Tell the truth, not the partisan political lie that vets are getting great jobs.

  5. william November 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Yes that is great news for those who are able to go to work; but what about those of us who are still waiting for our compensation and pension claim to be completed because someone like me is unable to work because of my disabilities. I can’t help to wonder are those who are responsible for procession and completing our compensation and pension claims are aware of the estimated time line that is shown on ebenefit or is that estimated time line is just something put there to comfort the vets and give them hope? I’m a real life human and I have real life issues and trying to deal with; with my wife and everyday I sit here without money me and my wife is unhappy and sometimes she is unhappy with me. I just hope those who are responsible for processing our compensation and pension claims are aware of the vets who can’t work are looking at ebenefit and putting hope in the estimated time line.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • The PACT Act will help VA provide health care and benefits to millions of toxic-exposed Veterans and their survivors. Veterans have already begun to apply for the benefits.

  • Here are the most asked questions and answers about Long COVID. Also, a list of many of the symptoms. Use this list to tell your clinician or care team.

  • Check in for your appointments using your smartphone allows you to practice physical distancing while offering ease and convenience.