WASHINGTON –Good news from the Labor Department this morning: The national unemployment rate dropped nearly half a percent last month, to 8.6 percent, and the unemployment rate for veterans fell three-tenths of a percent to 7.4 percent. The rate for Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans remains significantly higher – 11.1 percent – but even that was down a full percentage point from October.
While analysts note that the national unemployment rate news is tempered by the numbers behind the statistics – 120,000 new jobs were created, but about 310,000 job seekers simply stopped looking for work – the news for veterans was more upbeat.
About 177,000 veterans from the current wars are currently in civilian jobs, a jump of about 30,000 from October. Roughly 100,000 more of those veterans are working today than a year ago.
Lawmakers and White House officials have made veterans employment a priority in recent months, creating new job training tools and adopting new tax credits for companies that hire veterans.