After a year that set record lows for post-9/11 veteran unemployment, the first report for 2015 showed a 1-point uptick in the group's unemployment rate, government data show.
The January unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans was 7.9 percent, up from 6.9 percent in December and equal to the January 2014 rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Meanwhile, the U.S. added 257,000 jobs in January as the nation's unemployment rate nudged up to 5.7 percent from the December rate of 5.6 percent.
While the national unemployment rate typically moves by tenths of percentage points, the rate for post-9/11 veterans often moves by a full percentage point or more from month to month. That veteran rate is based on a much smaller sample size than the overall rate, making it particularly vulnerable to dramatic swings.
Statisticians recommend looking for broader trends, such as annual unemployment rates, rather than focusing on any one month's unemployment report. Data released last month pegged the 2014 annual unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans at 7.2 percent. That was nearly 2 percentage points lower than the 2013 annual rate, nearly 5 points lower than the 2011 rate and, by a narrow margin, the lowest annual rate recorded for the group.
For veterans as a whole, the unemployment rate climbed to 5.3 percent in January, up from 4.7 percent the previous month but down from the 5.6 percent rate in January 2014.