Veterans unemployment rate continues to fall

By Riley Johnson, News21

The overall employment picture for post-9/11 veterans continued to improve as the unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday.

At 7.2 percent, the June unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans dropped one-tenth of a percentage point from May.

Unemployment was higher, however, among women than men in June and highest yet among the youngest veterans, those 24 and under. Among that group of post-9/11 veterans, unemployment continues to hover above the non-veteran rate by four percentage points at 20.5 percent.

Art Burrola, program director at the Kino Veterans’ Workforce Center in Tucson, Ariz., said he has seen employment improve for younger veterans lately.

The center serves more than 200 veterans a month, Burrola said, about 40 percent of whom are post-9/11 veterans. More employers are hiring veterans, Burrola said, and he thinks national efforts to reduce veteran unemployment are working.

“It’s good for vets,” he said of the veteran employment situation. “It’s never going to be perfect for anybody.”

The five months mark the longest streak since the bureau started collecting data on veterans whose service in Iraq and Afghanistan came after 2001.

Overall, the economy grew by 195,000 jobs as unemployment held steady at 7.6 percent, the BLS reported.