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Slight improvement in vets jobless rate in November

Dec. 6, 2013 - 10:33AM   |  
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The nationís jobless rate fell to 7 percent in November, the lowest level in five years, but an economy that created just 203,000 net new jobs provided only slight gains for veterans.

For veterans of all generations, the unemployment rate in November was 6.7 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from October and continuing to show that veterans appear to do slightly better than non-veterans in finding and keeping jobs.

For Post-9/11 veterans, the November unemployment rate is 9.9 percent, down from 10 percent in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

There is one unexpected statistic in the November report. The jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans is about the same for men, 9.9 percent, and women, 10 percent. This is far different from the trend over the last year in which the jobless rate for post-9/11 female veterans has been far greater than the jobless rate for their male counterparts.

For example, in October the jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans was 9.6 percent for men and 11.6 percent for women. Labor Department statisticians say the small sample size of female veterans may explain the sharp changes rather than the beginning of a positive trend for women veterans.

Congress continues to push legislation to help veterans find jobs. On Nov. 19, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee passed S 1162, a bill sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to create the Veterans Conservation Corps.

The bill would arrange veterans to work on conservation, historic preservation and resource management projects and to also improve veteransí national cemeteries through direct hires by the federal government or grants to state and local agencies. The bill also includes grants to encourage state and local governments to hire veterans as firefighters, law enforcement officers and disaster relief workers.

Nelsonís bill has not yet been reported to the full Senate while the Congressional Budget Office calculates the costs.

The House and Senate veteransí affairs committees have also each passed slightly different versions of legislation to extend the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, known as VRAP, which provides up to one year of GI Bill benefits to unemployed veterans to learn a new skill.

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