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Post-9/11 veterans unemployment at 7 percent in June

Jul. 3, 2014 - 10:40AM   |  
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Following a sharp drop in May, the unemployment rate for the youngest generation of veterans jumped substantially in June, government data show.

But even with this one-month spike, the June unemployment rate of 7 percent for post-9/11 veterans still represents one of the best monthly rates in years for that demographic.

For the nation as a whole, the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, from May’s 6.3 percent, with the economy adding 288,000 jobs.

The national data are based on a much larger sample than the veteran sample, and as a result, the vet data can fluctuate dramatically from month to month.

Such a fluctuation may be part of the explanation for the previous unemployment report, when the rate plummeted from April’s 6.8 percent to 5.3 percent in May. The June number is much more in line with that April rate, as well as the 6.9 percent figure posted in March.

An unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans hovering around the 7 percent mark is a substantial improvement from 2012 and 2013, which charted overall annual jobless rates of 9.9 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

In a blog post, Jacqueline Maffucci, research director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said that it’s difficult to pinpoint a single reason for the June jump in unemployment. An actual increase in vet unemployment likely played some role; fluctuation due to the sample size likely played some role, she wrote.

“Overall when we look at veteran unemployment rates in the long-term, they’ve been trending consistently downward,” Maffucci wrote. “Right now, it’s hard to say if June’s increase is a sign of tough times ahead. Bottom line is it will be important to keep watching the numbers over the next few months to see if the downward trend is changing.”

For the overall veteran population, June’s unemployment rate climbed to 5.4 percent from May’s 5 percent. But as with the post-9/11 number, that is still one of the lowest levels in years.

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