The veterans unemployment rate settled at 2.7% for the third consecutive month in July, extending positive news about the veterans job market to its best streak in 22 years, according to the federal researchers.
In its monthly employment estimates released Friday, officials from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said about 237,000 veterans were unable to find work last month. That’s roughly the same level as May and June, and down from around 350,000 one year ago.
July was the fifth consecutive month that the veterans unemployment level was under 3%, the longest such streak since at least the start of 2000. (Public BLS data on veterans only extends back to that mark).
From March to November 2000, the rate was below 3.0% eight out of nine consecutive months.
The positive news for veterans comes amid improvement in the overall American job market as well. The national unemployment rate fell from 3.6% in June to 3.5% in July as the economy added about 528,000 jobs last month.
In a statement, President Joe Biden hailed the jobs news as evidence the country is recovering from the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The national unemployment rate spiked to more than 14 percent in spring 2020 as companies were forced to shut down operations in an attempt to stop the virus’ spread.
“More people are working than at any point in American history,” Biden said. “That’s millions of families with the dignity and peace of mind that a paycheck provides … There’s more work to do, but today’s jobs report shows we are making significant progress for working families.”
Officials from the Republican National Committee noted that the positive unemployment numbers do not address rising inflation across the country, which they say presents a bigger challenge to American families.
The unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war era rose from 2.9% in June to 3.4% in July.
However, researchers have warned that smaller sampling sizes in the BLS research can lead to dramatic month-to-month swings in those figures. The number of young veterans out of work has remained around 130,000 since early 2021, according to the bureau’s estimates.
About 8.5 million veterans are in the U.S. workforce today. That’s about 45% of the nation’s veterans population. Individuals who have retired or are unable to work because of service injuries are not included in the monthly unemployment calculations.
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.