Unemployment among all veterans reached a seven-year low last month, and the jobless rate among Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans set a new record low in October, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday.
The announcement continues a run of positive news for both groups in recent years, a stark change from the double-digit unemployment rates for some veterans groups in the early part of the decade.
According to BLS researchers, the overall veterans unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in October, down from 4.3 percent in September and from 6.9 percent just two years ago.
The mark is the lowest for veterans seeking work since April 2008, and continues an almost five-year-long streak of the veterans unemployment outpacing the national rate.
The jobless rate among younger veterans has generally stayed above those national numbers, but October marked the third consecutive month that group also saw better employment statistics than the general population.
BLS estimates that 4.6 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans seeking work in October could not find employment, the lowest mark since the agency began tracking that population in 2008. The previous low was set in August.
Unemployment rates for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan by month.
Photo Credit: K. Chamberlain
Nationally, the economy added 271,000 jobs in October, pushing the national unemployment rate down slightly to 5 percent. That was above industry analysts' earlier estimates.
Lawmakers and administration officials have made finding careers for veterans a priority in recent years, but critics have noted that those efforts are limited by larger struggles in the national job market.
The 3.9 percent unemployment rate for all veterans still represents about 422,000 individuals unable to find work last month. Veterans make up about 7.5 percent of the American workforce.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.