Is Veteran Unemployment as Big of an Issue as it Seems?

Short answer: No. Long answer: see below.


It seems that there is no shortage of politicians swept up in a righteous fury about the rate of unemployed veterans. While the author certainly would never claim to have any sort of doubt about the sincerity of a politician’s claims, it certainly seems that an awful lot of veterans are unemployed. But is this actually the case?


The unemployment rate among post 9/11 veterans continues to decline, as it has all  year so far, from 11.7% in January to 7.2% in June, compared to 7.9% for the nation as a whole in January, and 7.6% in June. So currently a greater percentage of veterans are employed than other americans, though that was not true as recent as a few months ago. But the overall data for veterans of all ages shows that in June the unemployment rate for all veterans was 6.3%, much lower than the nation as a whole.


So as a whole, veterans are better off in the unemployment area than the rest of the nation, but newer generation veterans are much closer statistically to the rest of the nation, and only the last few months have they been so; previous to March, the unemployment rate of post 9/11 veterans was much higher than the national average.


It is interesting to compare the male veteran unemployment rate with the female veteran unemployment rate. The female unemployment rate tends to jump up and down each month quite a bit – from 4.9% in May to 8.9% in June of this year. The unpredictable and extreme nature of the statistic is commonly attributed to the significantly smaller sample size – meaning that when one female veteran gets a job, it affects the percentage more than when one male does, because there are more male veterans than female.


As of right now it is uncertain what is causing the unemployment rate among post 9/11 veterans to drop so drastically. Many theories exist, including little-publicized policies passed by congress or the expansion of the VA which provide benefits for businesses who hire veterans. One theory that has some credence is how much the topic of veterans has been in the news lately, and it’s potential effect on the minds of business owners and hiring managers. Whatever the cause, the unemployment rate will hopefully continue to go down, not only for veterans but for the U.S. as a whole.

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