The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans may have gone up slightly in December, but 2018 is still the best year on record, according to the latest government data released Friday.

Last month, 3.6 percent of post-9/11 veterans and 3.2 percent of all veterans were unemployed — up slightly from 3.4 and 3.1 percent, respectively, in November. Experts warn against putting too much stock in the monthly figures and recommend instead tracking larger trends.

Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show an annual average unemployment rate of 3.8 percent for the youngest generation of veterans, on par with nonveterans. For veterans overall, the 2018 rate also dropped to 3.5 percent from 3.7 the previous year.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent in December while the nation added about 312,000 jobs, primarily in the health care, food services and drinking places, construction, manufacturing and retail trade fields.

Military Times contributor and former reporter Natalie Gross hosts the Spouse Angle podcast. She grew up in a military family and has a master's degree in journalism from Georgetown University.

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