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Veterans' employment improves overall

But younger generation's jobless rate still high

Nov. 2, 2012 - 09:25AM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 2, 2012 - 09:25AM  |  
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The jobless rate for Post-9/11 veterans rose slightly in October, despite the employment picture improving overall for veterans in general.

For veterans of all generations, the unemployment rate for October was 6.3 percent, much better than the 7.9 percent national unemployment rate. For male veterans, the overall jobless rate was 5.9 percent, according to Friday's employment situation report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But for those separated from service since Sept. 11, 2001, the unemployment rate for October was 10 percent, a slight increase from September's 9.7 percent. The disparity between men and women, though, is huge: For Post-9/11 male veterans, the October jobless rate was 9.2 percent. For Post-9/11 female veterans, the unemployment rate was 15.5 percent — down from almost 20 percent the previous month, but still high.

Steve Gonzalez, assistant director of the national economic commission of the American Legion, the nation's largest veterans' group, said there "is no lack of programs to help veterans," but they may need more help finding the program that is best for them.

The threat of sequestration — the across-the-board budget cuts looming for January — may be hurting former service members, Gonzalez said. Many veterans find post-service work in government-related jobs, he said, "Fear of a sequester could be holding down veterans' employment."

The Labor Department reports the economy grew 171,000 jobs in October, in professional and business services, retail, health care, and leisure and hospitality services The unemployment rate for Post-9/11 veterans has not been stable from month to month in the Labor Department reports, with a low of 7.6 percent in February to a high of 13.3 percent in May, but the average for the year shows improvement.

"When you look month to month, it can be very volatile," Gonzalez said. "I look at the trend."

Through September, the 2012 unemployment rate for Post-9/11 veterans averaged 9.8 percent, lower than the 11.3 percent average in 2011.

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