After a 2018 of record lows, the unemployment rate for veterans climbed up again in the first month of the year.

Post-9/11 veterans saw a jump from 3.6 percent in December to 4.2 in January, the highest unemployment rate for this group since last May, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jump among nonveterans was slightly larger — from 3.6 to 4.3 percent in that same time frame.

The unemployment rate for veterans of all generations jumped from 3.2 to 3.7 percent.

Still, experts put more stock in yearly averages than monthly ones, warning that unemployment rates for veterans can be volatile because they’re based on a smaller sample size.

For the youngest generation of veterans, unemployment dropped below 4 percent in 2018 for the first time ever, continuing a seven-year trend of declines since 2011, when veteran unemployment was in the double digits. Federal data also showed unemployment for all veterans continued to decline last year, with positive workforce trends for women and minority veterans, especially.

In part because of the recent partial government shutdown, the national unemployment rate also ticked up in January to 4 percent, with 6.5 million people unemployed across the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, the U.S. added approximately 304,000 jobs, particularly in the leisure and hospitality, transportation and warehousing, construction, and health care industries.

Natalie Gross has been reporting for Military Times since 2017. She grew up in a military family and has a master's degree in journalism from Georgetown University.

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