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Veterans unemployment drops to lowest rate in four years

WASHINGTON – Bureau of Labor Statistics researchers announced that veterans unemployment dropped to 6.3 percent in October, its lowest point since before President Barack Obama took office.

The figure still means that nearly 690,000 veterans are looking for work. But that number has been on a downward trend for the last 18 months, when more than 1 million veterans were trying to find jobs.

The unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans nudged up last month, to 10 percent from 9.7 percent in September, and still sits well above the national rate of 7.9 percent.

Even that is still positive news compared with 2011, when unemployment for that group routinely topped 11 percent and nearly 250,000 young veterans were out of work.

Friday’s jobs report was the last major economic indicator before next week’s presidential election. The campaign has frequently focused on the issue of jobs and the economy, although finding jobs for returning war veterans has remained a minor point of that discussion.

The last time the overall veterans unemployment rate fell below 6 percent was November 2008 – the month Obama was elected – when it was 5.2 percent.

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