As Alex Horton noted last week, the unemployment rate among Iraq- and Afghanistan-era Veterans has now fallen below the national average. With so much concern about the economy and jobs, this is welcome news.
It’s important to remember, however, that data from one month doesn’t make a trend and monthly employment numbers can be volatile. So to really get a sense of where we stand now, we’ve pulled the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to create a chart that compares trend lines of unemployment over the past two years. As you can see below, the unemployment rates have ranged quite a bit since February 2010. But one thing is certain: Both the national unemployment rate and the rate among Iraq- and Afghanistan-era Veterans is falling.
None of this is to say that we’re close to resolving the problem of veteran unemployment or underemployment. But this is a very important point to make: According to the BLS statistics, the trend of veteran unemployment over the last two years shows falling numbers. And that’s progress.
Of course, this is no time to slow down. Administration initiatives such as Joining Forces and the Veterans Job Corps will continue to play a key role as we move forward. And combined with help from those in the Veterans community, these public and private sector partnerships will help us to ultimately expand employment opportunities for Veterans. And that’s what we intend to do.