The veterans unemployment rate stayed below 3% for the seventh consecutive month in September, continuing the best stretch for veterans job prospects in America in more than 20 years.
Officials from the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Friday that an estimated 2.6% of veterans seeking steady employment were unable to find jobs last month. That translates into about 229,000 veterans across the country.
The figure was up slightly from August (2.4%) but was still the third-lowest monthly figure for veterans unemployment in the last three years. The figure had peaked as high as 11.7% at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in America in spring 2020.
The last time the veterans community saw comparably low unemployment estimates was in 2000, when BLS reported the rate was below 3% for eight out of nine consecutive months.
Economic experts have warned about drawing conclusions from a single month of veterans employment data because of potential volatility in how BLS samples the population in their research and calculates their estimates.
But the average unemployment rate for veterans in the first nine months of 2022 now sits near 2.8%, significantly lower than the 4.6% reported by Labor Department experts for all of 2021.
As they have historically, veterans continue to outperform civilians without military experience in the job market. The national unemployment rate was 3.5%, matching its lowest mark since 2019.
Labor Department officials said the American economy added about 263,000 new jobs last month.
Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan War era make up the largest portion of the veteran workforce, representing almost half of the 8.5 million veterans employed.
That group saw its unemployment rate rise slightly from August (1.9%) to September (2.3%). However, both of those figures were lower than any other monthly estimate for those veterans since early 2019.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.