WASHINGTON — The unemployment rate for young veterans dropped last month to its lowest level since President Barack Obama was elected, another positive sign for advocates concerned over the transition from military to civilian life.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Iraq and Afghanistan war era veterans posted a 7.5 percent unemployment rate in April, the same as the national average. That figure has stayed at least two percentage points above the national rate for most of the last four years, and hasn’t been that low since November 2008.
The unemployment rate has been on a downward slope since the start of 2013. Almost 2.1 million veterans from the current wars era now hold civilian jobs.
Lawmakers have made retraining and recertification efforts a focus in recent years, both to help the large number of combat veterans looking for a second career and to prepare the country an expected million more troops leaving the military in the coming decade.
The overall veterans unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent in April, the lowest that figure has been in more than four years.
About 860,000 veterans were still unable to find jobs last month, according to the bureau.
In a statement, White House Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Krueger called the unemployment numbers "further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression."
But he also warned that any good economic news accumulated in recent months could be undone by mandatory budget cuts under sequestration now being implemented, and reiterated White House calls for Congress to find alternative deficit reduction plans.