As overall joblessness declines, young vets see an uptick
WASHINGTON — Slightly more veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were unemployed in October compared to the month before, even as overall unemployment numbers ticked down a tenth of a percentage point.
Overall unemployment fell from 9.1 percent to 9 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday, as the economy created 80,000 new jobs. For veterans who served in the post-9/11 era, the trend went the other way — up from 11.7 percent to 12.1 percent.
Neither number is statistically significant, said Jim Borbely, an economist at BLS.
“Essentially there’s no change,” he said.
The veteran-specific numbers translate into 5,000 more Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans unemployed, but out of a population of about 2 million who’ve served during that time period, it’s very hard to draw conclusions.
The White House said the report “provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough.”
The House passed a veterans employment bill last month. A similar bill in the Senate has yet to come to a vote, though veterans groups have been calling for legislation to be passed into law by Veterans Day on Friday.
“Over the last few months, we’ve heard a lot of talk from companies who want to hire our veterans, but the numbers don’t lie,” said Ryan Gallucci, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “The House took action. … Now the VFW is asking the Senate to take action by Veterans Day. Now is the time for leaders in Washington to show that they understand the challenges facing our veterans by providing the tools they need to compete in a tough job market.”