Long-Term Look at Veterans Unemployment Shows Decline

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Veteran unemployment data for the month of August. The unemployment rate for all Veterans was 6.2 percent last month—a decrease from 6.4 percent in July and still one percentage point below the national average of 7.3 percent. For post-9/11 Veterans, the rate bumped up to 10 percent in August, compared to 7.7 percent in July.

In the first graph, we see the monthly unemployment rate for all Veterans since January 2010. The long-term trend shows a clear decrease.

Unemployment-All Veterans

Because chunks of data are often better indicators of real movement, another way to view the trend is by looking at the moving (or rolling) average. Like the chart above, the chart below immediately below captures 12-month averages for the periods ending each month since January 2010. What it shows is a modest decline in the unemployment rate of Veterans over the long term. The current 12-month average unemployment rate for all Veterans stands at 6.7 percent—unchanged from last month and still the lowest 12-month average unemployment rate since 2009.

Moving 12-month average, All Veterans' Unemployment

This matters because the moving 12-month average is a far more conservative measure than the month-to-month data. When we see movement in the rolling average, we are confident that there is real movement in the unemployment rate.

For post-9/11 (or Gulf War II-era) Veterans, the monthly unemployment rate increased to 10 percent in August. The chart below demonstrates the declining unemployment rate over time. Because the month-to-month figures for this demographic are volatile, the longer term trend is a more reliable measure that continues to show a consistent decline for over three years.

Unemployment Rate, Gulf War II-era Veterans

As we can see below, even with a one-month increase (which, again, is not a long enough period to conclude real movement), the 12-month moving average unemployment rate for post-9/11 Veterans has slightly dropped to 9.2 percent.

Unemployment Rate, Gulf War II-era Veterans, Moving 12-month average

Overall, the numbers above are encouraging even as we see some short-term fluctuating numbers. But we know there is still more to be done. In this economy, too many Veterans still can’t find meaningful work, and we’re working every day to remedy that.

VA is collaborating with the White House and the Chamber of Commerce on hiring fairs across the country “Hiring Our Heroes” Program. We also urged Veterans to prepare themselves for the job market by taking advantage of programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Veterans Retraining and Assistance Program (VRAP).

Today’s numbers tell us that Veterans are finding work, but there’s still much to be done, and we can’t let up now. VA, in partnership with the White House, and private sector, remains committed to ensuring that the unemployment rate for all Veterans continues its downward path.

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3 Comments to “Long-Term Look at Veterans Unemployment Shows Decline”

  1. Facts and figures. Keep in touch with the Veterans all the time.

  2. Al Crawford says:

    Of course the long term unemployment rate among “All” Veterans will be declining, just the same as the backlog of Unresolved Disability Compensation Claims and the backlog of those Pending Appeals will also decline in the long term. However, the overwhelming reason for those declines will occur despite the continuing deterioration of services by the VA, which has abandoned more Veterans now than ever before, to flounder helplessly.
    .
    Those declines are inevitable because with the average age of Veterans nearing 60 years of age now (meaning half are older, i.e., 70′s, 80′s and even 90′s) and the VA also knows more than 500,000 (1/2 million +) Veterans are now dying every year, which is a trend that has accelerated over the past decade. Consequently, with each passing decade, millions of Veterans are dying. So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why the unemployment rate is expected to decline among Veterans, but it does take some pretty cold hearted souls to hold so many claims and appeals in what can only be described as death watch storage, for longer than far too many Veterans are likely to survive!
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    Eventually however, with the entire Veterans population now declining rapidly, Congress will soon find themselves boxed into a corner with no excuses left, but to also begin downsizing the VA in a big way. It will happen and it’s just a matter of time, because fiscal restraints will demand it. KARMA is a funny thing and just as Veterans have been abandoned by the VA, in the not too distant future it will be the VA who feels abandoned and longing for the days when there were more Veterans to serve (but ironically, far too many Veterans will have never even received the VA services they deserved and were entitled to anyway) so in the end, what goes around will come around as the old saying goes. As a Veteran, you may not live long enough to see it, but you can rest in peace knowing you are no longer a statistic the VA can rely on to support their own self-serving interests!