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Upbeat jobs report brings good news for vets, too

WASHINGTON – The nation’s positive jobs report on Friday included good news about veterans, with the unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan era dropping below 10 percent for the sixth month this year.

Bureau of Labor Statistics officials estimate the September unemployment rate for that group at 9.7 percent, more than one percent less than the August rate. For 2012, the monthly average unemployment rate sits at 9.8 percent for those veterans, well below the 12.1 percent rate of 2011 and on pace for the lowest mark since 2009.

But those young veteran employment numbers lag behind figures for other veterans and the overall population. BLS officials put nationwide unemployment at 7.8 percent for September, the lowest since January 2009. The overall veterans unemployment rate nudged up slightly from last month, to 6.7 percent in September.

In a statement, Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said that the positive employment news “provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”

But former Massachusettes Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign blasted the report, saying it showed stagnant job growth and questionable economic progress.

Almost 1.9 million veterans of the recent wars era are currently working, but another 200,000 are still looking for jobs.

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