The February unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans fell to the lowest on record at 6.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
While still higher than the 5.5 percent national average for all workers, the unemployment rate for younger veterans was down from 9.2 percent the same month a year ago and reflects a double-digit decline from previous years.
The jobless rate for all veterans, meanwhile, was 5.3 percent, down from 6.3 percent a year ago, according to the bureau. The jobless rate for all veterans was lower than the national average for all workers, a historical trend that continues.
A spokeswoman for the bureau said the jobless rate for post-9/11 vets was "the lowest we have on record" since BLS started tracking the newest generation of veterans in 2008. In February 2009, post-9/11 vets had an unemployment rate of 11.2 percent and that figure climbed to 12.5 percent in February 2010.
The spokeswoman attributed the decline to the general upturn in the economy since the Great Recession, and employers added 295,000 jobs to the payrolls in February alone.
The bureau noted job growth in the service sector, with 66,000 jobs added in leisure and hospitality. About 54,000 jobs were added in education and health, and another 29,000 in construction.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which has highlighted the issue of vets' unemployment, took note in a blog of the decline in the rates as evidence that "once we invest in veterans, the research shows that the results are a more skilled labor force, better team members and better employees."
IAVA also called for improvement in the military's transition assistance programs "to meet the needs of current and future veterans."
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org