Big Unemployment Rate Drop for Post-9/11 Vets, Lowest in More Than 3 Years

veterans career fair at Moody Air Force Base
Sabrina Smith, sergeant detective for the Valdosta Police Department shakes hands with Bart Larson, maintenance specialist for Hunt family housing, during the veterans career fair Oct. 20, 2017 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eugene Oliver)

The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans dropped in August to 1.9%, the lowest in more than three years in another sign that the jobs market remains strong despite inflation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The monthly BLS report on employment showed that the jobless rate for veterans who fought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the group that has seen the most volatility since COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, took a major drop from 3.4% in July to 1.9% in August, the lowest since the 1.7% recorded in April 2019.

For all veterans, the unemployment rate in August was 2.4%, down from 2.7% in July, as veterans continued to outperform civilians in the jobs market, the BLS figures showed. Overall, the national unemployment rate bumped up from an adjusted 3.5% in July to 3.7% in August -- the first monthly increase since January.

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In a statement accompanying the report, BLS Commissioner William Beach said that 315,000 non-farm payroll jobs were added in August, compared to the 526,000 in July that defied the predictions of most analysts, in a possible sign that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's actions to cool the economy by raising interest rates are taking effect.

Beach said the latest statistics showed that "the labor market continued to recover from the job losses of the pandemic-induced recession. This growth brings total non-farm employment 240,000 above its February 2020 level before the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic."

In a statement, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said the bump in the national unemployment rate to 3.7% came "as more people entered the labor market looking for work."

But "as we head into Labor Day weekend, America's workers and their families have reasons to celebrate. All the jobs lost in the pandemic and more have been recovered," Walsh said.

At the White House, President Joe Biden touted "more good news" in the BLS report showing 315,000 jobs added in non-farm sectors such as manufacturing. "The great American jobs machine continues its comeback," Biden said.

"The bottom line is jobs are up, wages are up, people are back to work. And we're seeing some signs that inflation may be -- may be, I'm not overpromising -- may be beginning to ease," he added.

Biden also cited the BLS data showing that the jobless rate for adult women was at 3.3%, comparable to pre-pandemic rates for women. For all female veterans, the unemployment rate in August was 2.6%; for post-9/11 female veterans, the rate was 2.0%, the BLS report said.

In a statement in response to the jobs report and Biden's comments, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said, "As long as Democrats continue to rubber-stamp Biden's agenda and waste taxpayer dollars on their radical policies, families will continue to struggle to afford everything from gas to school supplies to groceries."

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

Related: Jobs Market Still Hot for Veterans Despite Unemployment Rate Increase for Post-9/11 Vets

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