vet-unempl-trendIn good news for transitioning service members, veteran employment continues to rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released it employment summary report for July today and the trend of lower unemployment rates for veterans remains little changed. For the month, the BLS says that 6.4 percent of all veterans were unemployed. That represents 702,000 veterans out of a total labor force of over 10.9 million. An added 10.5 million vets were not in the labor force for the month.

The unemployment rate for veterans has been trending downward since its high of 9.9 percent in Jan. 2011. The July rate was up slightly from June’s 6.3 percent. The change was caused by an increase of about 15,000 workers who were unemployed during the month.

Our oldest vets, those who served in World War II, Korea or Vietnam, represent the largest number of vets not in the labor force. Of the 9.8 million vets from those conflicts, just 30 percent are working or looking for work. Their unemployment rate in July was 6.7 percent. This was up from June. July saw more unemployed older vets and more who left the labor force in the month.

At the other end of the scale, vets from Gulf War II, serving since Sept. 2001, are the youngest group. There are 2.7 million military veterans in this category and 21 percent are not in the labor force. Their unemployment rate was 7.7 percent. The unemployment rate for these vets has remained locked in the 7 to 8 percent range since April while down from earlier highs.

The BLS records two other categories for military veterans. Those who served in the first Gulf War had a July unemployment rate of 5.2 percent. More of these vets entered the labor force in the month and most found jobs.

For veterans who served in other periods, the July unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, a drop from June. About 80,000 of these vets found jobs in the month. This brought the numbers for this group down from their highs for the year and suggests a brighter employment outlook.

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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.