Unemployment for Post-9/11 Vets Remains Stagnant As Other Groups See Gains

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Veterans and service members speak with business representatives about job opportunities at the Recruit Military Job Fair at San Diego, July 11, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Jake McClung)
Veterans and service members speak with business representatives about job opportunities at the Recruit Military Job Fair at San Diego, July 11, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Jake McClung)

As the economy continued its rebound from the shock of COVID-19, the unemployment rate for all veterans showed slight improvement in September. The veteran jobless rate dropped to 6.4% from the 6.6% adjusted rate for August. However, the jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans rose to 7.5% in September from 7% the month before, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The overall veteran unemployment rate continued to outperform the national rate, which was 7.9% in September, down from 8.4% in August, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics announced.

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The 7.9% national figure marked the fifth consecutive month of decline since unemployment peaked at 14.7% in April, when the first effects of COVID-19 forced business closures and layoffs.

"These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic," BLS said of the September report.

The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans, classified as Gulf War II-era veterans by BLS, is still nearly double what it was a year ago, 4.5%, when the economy was booming. The group is considered the most vulnerable to downturns in the economy,

The rate for male post-9/11 veterans in September was 7.8%; for female post-9/11 veterans, it was 5.7%.

Gulf War I-era veterans of the 1990s had an unemployment rate of 6.1% in September. World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans overall had an unemployment rate of 4.4%, BLS said.

"Employment continued to increase in several industries, with the largest gains in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in professional and business services," BLS Commissioner William Beach said in a statement on the September report.

The initial BLS report for August put the unemployment rate for all veterans at 6.4%, but it was later adjusted to 6.6%.

"The veteran unemployment rate is still well below the general unemployment rate, but it fell only slightly from August to September, from 6.6% to 6.4%," said Robert Frick, the corporate economist at the Navy Federal Credit Union, in a statement. "Compared to one year ago, there are about 700,000 more veterans unemployed."

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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