Post-9/11 vet unemployment picture improves in November

The up-and-down unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans dipped in November, falling to 5.7 percent, government data show. Only two times in the monthly measure's more-than-six-year history has this unemployment rate been lower.

The nation as a whole added 321,000 jobs in November as the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The November post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate is down a point and a half from the October measure of 7.2 percent.

Such a swing likely has more to do with the volatility of the metric than a sudden, dramatic improvement in employment for the nation's youngest veterans. With just one exception, every monthly jobs report this year has included a post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate at least a full point higher or lower than the previous month's rate.

The rate's small sample size makes it particularly susceptible to such big swings. Rather than focusing on any one month's rate, economists recommend looking for trends over longer periods.

Those trends have clearly been positive in 2014.

The two highest unemployment rates this year, in February and July, were both 9.2 percent, just a shade above the 9 percent rate covering last year as a whole. The two lowest unemployment rates, 5.3 percent in May and this latest 5.7 percent mark, are at or near historic lows.

For veterans of all generations, unemployment stood at 4.5 percent in November, unchanged from the October rate.

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