Veteran unemployment rate improves

By Riley Johnson, News21

The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans fell for the fourth straight month as the May job market showed continued strength, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At 7.3 percent, the unemployment rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 now sits lower than the overall rate, 7.6 percent.

Unemployment among the newest group of veterans dropped slightly from April to May and now stands more than five percentage points lower than the 12.5 percent reported for May 2012. This is the lowest rate for this group of veterans since post-9/11 veteran unemployment stood at 5.6 percent in November 2008, according to BLS data.

Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said the report shows national efforts to reduce post-9/11 veteran unemployment are working.

“Companies throughout the United States are investing in veterans and realizing the incredible returns from that investment,” Rieckhoff said.

Despite some gains, unemployment remains high among 20- to 24-year-old veterans, 17.7 percent. This rate is still more than 4 percentage points higher than exists among the same, non-veteran population, BLS data shows.

Overall, more than 175,000 Americans found jobs last month, and more than 420,000 people started looking for work again.