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Understanding Unemployment: December’s Report

By The Numbers

Happy New Year! We kick this year off with some good news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Unemployment Situation report. While the unemployment rate for all Americans remained the same at 4.1 percent, veteran unemployment is at 3.8 percent, down from 4.0 percent last month, but not the record low we saw a few months ago.

However, we have a new record low for post-9/11 veteran unemployment! The post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate is 3.3 percent this month, the lowest since we have been tracking the post-9/11 unemployment numbers. For both male and women post-9/11 veterans, unemployment fell; male post-9/11 veteran unemployment is 3.4 percent this month while the unemployment for women post-9/11 veterans is 3.3 percent.

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This is great news! Post-9/11 veteran employment is a top priority here at IAVA, and we know it matters to our members. We see it in our Member Survey, we talk about it in our Policy Agenda, and we ensure assistance is available through our RRRP Program. After years of high unemployment rates, it seems we may be trending in the right direction.

Year End Wrap Up

As we begin 2018, let’s take a look back on employment in the past year. Overall, the news is great: unemployment is down across the board, and veteran unemployment has seen a significant decline.

A year ago, in December 2016, the unemployment rate overall was at 4.7 percent, and post-9/11 veteran unemployment reported at 5.7 percent. Today, those numbers are 4.1 percent for overall unemployment and 3.3 percent unemployment for post-9/11 veterans. Comparing December 2016 to December 2017, post-9/11 veteran unemployment fell by over 40 percent in the past year!

In addition, this month has been one of firsts: for the first time since we have been tracking unemployment, post-9/11 veteran unemployment fell below veteran and overall unemployment rate. And the unemployment rate is the lowest we have seen it for post-9/11 veterans, at 3.3 percent. While unemployment numbers aren’t a perfect measure of the job market, these numbers show us that there are less post-9/11 veterans are looking for work than ever before.

While 2018 is just starting, IAVA is dedicated to ensuring that these trends continue. Find the full Policy Agenda here. And if you or someone you know needs help finding employment resources, our RRRP team is standing by.

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