The veterans unemployment rate rose in January, but so did the number of veterans who found jobs.
A rush of veterans re-entering the job market last month reflected a nationwide trend towards higher levels of working-age Americans participating in the workforce.
The unemployment rate for all veterans rose from 3.2 percent in December to 3.8 percent in January, but the number of veterans who had full-time employment rose by more than 430,000 individuals, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number of veterans unable to find steady work rose by about 70,000 individuals from December to January. Overall, about 8.9 million veterans sought full-time jobs in January, up more than 500,000 individuals from the last month of 2021.
Much of that was driven by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars era. About 200,000 more young veterans reported looking for work last month than in December, pushing the group’s labor participation rate to nearly 80 percent.
For the nation, the unemployment rate for all workers rose from 3.9 percent to 4.0 percent, even though the number of unemployed workers stayed roughly the same at 6.5 million.
Administration officials touted BLS findings that the economy added about 467,000 jobs last month even amid the latest nationwide surge in coronavirus cases.
“America’s job machine is going stronger than ever, fueling a strong recovery and opportunity for hardworking women and men all across this great country,” said President Joe Biden during a nationwide address from the White House on Friday. “America is back to work.”
Veterans have typically fared better than their civilian peers in the monthly unemployment estimates. January was the 60th time in the last 61 months that the veterans unemployment rate was lower than the national rate.
Even so, lawmakers in recent years have created a number of targeted jobs programs aimed at transitioning service members and veterans struggling with a return to civilian life.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.