America’s veterans are benefiting from lower unemployment rates, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The trend for all veterans has dropped from a recent high of 9.6 percent in Jan. 2010 to the May veterans’ unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. For male vets, the May rate was 6.7 percent while female vets saw a May rate of 6 percent. In contrast, the May unemployment rate for non-veterans was 7 percent.

Affecting the data was the Feb. 1 discovery by the BLS of almost 400,000 female military veterans. All of the data for 2013 includes this newest estimate but the BLS has not recalculated prior data.

“Beginning with data for January 2013, estimates for veterans in table 5 of The Employment Situation news release incorporate population controls derived from an updated Department of Veterans Affairs´ population model. Other tables in The Employment Situation were not affected. In accordance with usual practice, BLS did not revise estimates in table 5 for December 2012 and earlier months.”

The overall unemployment rate for veterans in the United States fell from 7.8 percent in May 2012 to 6 percent in May 2013. Veterans of Gulf War II have seen a decline over the same period from 12.7 percent to 7.3 percent. Gulf War I vets saw a smaller decline in the period, from 6.3 to 5.2 percent.

Older veterans, from World War II, Korea and Vietnam saw a slight increase in their unemployment rate. In May 2012 it was 6.9 percent and it rose to 7.1 percent in May 2013. Veterans from other periods of service, such as the Cold War, Panama and Grenada, also saw a slight increase in unemployment, with percentages identical to the older vets.

The unemployment rate for Americans who have not served in the military was 7 percent in May. Civilian men saw a 7.4 percent rate. Civilian women saw a much lower unemployment rate, 6.6 percent.

The BLS estimates that there were 21,439,000 veterans in May 2013. 19.2 million were men and 2.2 million were women. 11.2 million veterans were in the labor force and 744,000 were unemployed.

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Charles Simmins brings thirty years of accounting and management experience to his coverage of the news. An upstate New Yorker, he is a freelance journalist, former volunteer firefighter and EMT, and is owned by a wife and four cats.