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Unemployment jumps to 6.5 percent for post-9/11 vets in November

December 2, 2016 (Photo Credit: Sgt. Zane Craig)
The unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans jumped to 6.5 percent in November, a notable increase that brings the rate to its highest level of 2016, government data show.

But even with November's high unemployment rate included, the average 2016 rate is on track for 5 percent, a lower level of unemployment than has ever been recorded annually for post-9/11 veterans, Military Times calculations of Bureau of Labor Statistics information indicate.

On the national level, the economy added 178,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate dropped from 4.9 percent in October to 4.6 percent in November. The last time the national unemployment rate was that low was August 2007 — before the recession.

While the November unemployment picture for post-9/11 veterans might not look quite as good, there is still plenty of reason for optimism.

The unemployment rate spike from October, when the rate charted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 4.7 percent for post-9/11 veterans, is large. But such spikes are far from rare and are often followed by similarly large drops. For example, the rate jumped from 4.7 percent this February to 6.3 percent in March and then tumbled to 4.1 percent in April.

Because the post-9/11 unemployment data is based on a very small sample size, such volatility is common. Economists advise not to pay too much attention to any one month's results but rather to look at multi-month trends.

Those trends have been toward lower post-9/11 veteran unemployment for years, with unemployment dropping lower in 2016 than it has ever been before. A single month's rate spike cannot change that.

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