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Jobs Report: 10 Percent Unemployment Rate Among GWOT Veterans

Down from 12 Percent a Year Ago… But Unemployment Among GWOT Women Increases from 10.9 to 15.5 Percent

The unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans increased last month, rising to 10 percent – up sharply from the 9.7 percent unemployment rate posted just a month earlier. The unemployment rate among GWOT veterans remains substantially higher than the 7.8 percent general unemployment rate among the overall population. The numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

Curiously, the spike in unemployment for these veterans came despite a decrease in the unemployment rate for all veterans nationwide, down to 6.3 percent.

Older veterans who are in the job market are much more likely to be employed than GWOT veterans. They also had more opportunity to complete their educations under the GI Bill. Their unemployment rate more closely matches the overall unemployment rate of those who have completed at least a four year college degree.

Still, even the 10 percent unemployment figure among GWOT veterans represents a significant improvement over the year-ago period. The unemployment rate among Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans and their cohorts was 12 percent last year. The unemployment rate among women GWOT veterans, however, increased by 50 percent, from 10.9 percent to 15.5 percent, over the past year, according to the BLS statistics. Readers should keep in mind that the more specific the demographic, the smaller the sample size, and the greater the statistical margin of error.

Overall, the rate of unemployment for all veterans declined from 7.7 percent in October 2011 to 6.3 percent this month. Unemployment among nonveterans, in comparison, was 7.6 percent.

The unemployment rate among Viet Nam, Korea and WWII-era veterans is 5.2 percent, though based on much lower labor force participation rates, as most of these individuals have retired.

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