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May Unemployment Rates for Veterans Show Continued Downward Trend

Today the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) announced that the May unemployment rate for Post 9/11 veterans decreased to 5.3 percent (from 6.8 percent in April), a record low since the agency began reporting the numbers. Veteran unemployment overall also continued to decrease (5.0 percent in May from 5.6 percent in April). For all Americans, the unemployment rate showed no change, remaining at 6.3 percent in May.

Certainly it’s important to recognize this continuing downward trend for vets overall and particularly for Post 9/11 vets. But we also can’t declare victory just yet. The nation must continue to focus on veteran employment, especially with over 20,000 servicemembers slated to come home from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

It’s difficult to know the reason for the decline, and particularly such a dramatic one in the Post 9/11 population. It could be due to recent hiring initiatives, an improving economy, changes in the job-seeking population, or other factors. (Note: the BLS jobs report is a monthly estimate of the nation’s employment situation, and fluctuations in the post-9/11 veterans unemployment rate may be in part due to the small sample of veterans surveyed on the report). Whatever the reason, the focus needs to stay on hiring vets.

In IAVA’s 2014 member policy survey, respondents indicated that employment was their top challenge when transitioning out of the military, and identified employment as one of the top issues facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. As the war in Afghanistan comes to an end, the nation must continue to support this new generation of veterans, recognizing that they are our next generation of leaders.

For veterans who are facing hardship due to being underemployed or unemployed, we encourage you to contact our Rapid Response Referral (RRRP) team to get connected with resources to help you. Contact us directly by calling the toll free number: 855-91-RAPID (855-917-2743) emailing transition@iava.org, or visitinghttp://www.IAVA.org/RRRP.

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