WASHINGTON – The unemployment rate for young veterans took a significant step backwards last month, rising to 10.9 percent and countering what had been positive post-military jobs news for most of 2012.
Administration officials and veterans advocates have warned about putting too much emphasis on the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, stating that the overall trend among Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans looking for work is still encouraging.
And the jobs report did note that veterans overall saw a 6.6 percent unemployment rate in August, well below the national average of 8.1 percent and marking the lowest rate the group has seen since 2008.
About 720,000 veterans were unable to find work last month, down more than 400,000 from early 2011. Roughly a third of those unemployed veterans left the military since 2002, including thousands of combat veterans back from the battlefield.
That youngest veterans group has posted a single-digit unemployment rate five times this year, including 8.9 percent in July. In 2010 and 2011, that figure dropped below 10 percent only twice.
But the latest report saw the number of veterans unable to find work swell by almost 50,000 in the last month alone.
In a statement, Alan Krueger, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, called the overall jobs news encouraging but acknowledged that more progress needs to be made in putting Americans back to work.
Of the estimated 142 million civilian workers in America today, roughly 10 million are veterans.