Veterans unemployment rates decreased in October despite a slight uptick in national jobless rates, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Federal researchers estimated the unemployment rate among veterans last month at 2.7%, down from two consecutive months of rates above 3.5%. Those higher levels in August and September marked the first time BLS had put the jobless figure for veterans above 3% in 2023.

Younger veterans saw an even more significant improvement last month. The jobless rate among post-9/11 era veterans fell from 5.1% in September to 4.0% in October, according to the new data.

That translates into about 45,000 more young veterans working in October than in September.

Across America, about 230,000 veterans looking for work were unable to find steady employment last month, up a few thousand individuals from one year earlier. Employment experts have warned that the BLS estimates are susceptible to fluctuations from month to month given sampling and surveying complications.

Veterans unemployment has typically outpaced the jobless rate of the general population in recent years. In April, BLS officials estimated the veterans unemployment rate at 2.1%, the lowest mark since the start of 2000, when the agency began tracking jobless data for the group.

But suddenly higher unemployment rates among veterans in August and September did raise some concerns among veterans advocates, especially as the rest of the American job market improved.

Congressional lawmakers have focused heavily on veterans job programs in recent years, boosting transition assistance programs and corporate outreach efforts.

About 8.5 million veterans are in the U.S. workforce. That’s just under half of the 17.8 million veterans living in America today.

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.

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