Post-9/11 vet unemployment sets records in May; U.S. hiring slows

Even as hiring slowed for the nation as a whole in May, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans continued to set records, government data shows.

Unemployment for such vets was 4 percent in May, edging out the previous record low of 4.1 percent, set the previous month. And the 4.2 percent record before that wasn't set long ago either — November 2015.

Such small differences in the rate are likely not very meaningful, particularly for this unemployment measure, which is based on a small sample size. But with the rate so low, statistically significant drops may be hard to come by.

The broader picture for the country was less rosy in May, with just 38,000 jobs gained, a sharp decrease from the previous month's 160,000 new jobs, and the lowest number seen in years. The nation's unemployment rate dropped from 5 percent to 4.7 percent in May.

That seasonally adjusted rate is not the best measure to compare with the post-9/11 vet unemployment rate, which is not seasonally adjusted. The nonveteran unemployment rate, which makes for a better comparison, was 4.4 percent in May — higher than the comparable unemployment measure for the latest generation of veterans for the second straight month.

Since May 2015, eight of the last 13 unemployment rates were either the lowest ever recorded, or the second lowest, at the time they came out. Over this unprecedented hot streak, seemingly every other month sets a record low rate, only to be eclipsed the following month.

And for veterans as a whole, the employment outlook may be even better. Just 3.4 percent of veterans of all generations were unemployed in May, down from April's 3.9 percent mark

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