Veterans unemployment remained under 4.0 percent for the third consecutive month in October as the national unemployment rate continued its steady decline, according to estimates released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

The jobless rate for veterans last month was 3.9 percent, up slightly from the 3.6 percent estimate in September but still well below the rate from one year ago, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

In October 2020, the unemployment mark for veterans was 5.5 percent, with nearly 500,000 working age veterans across America unable to find stable employment. That number has dropped about 150,000 individuals in the intervening year, as more businesses have resumed operations and begun hiring more individuals.

The unemployment rate for younger veterans — individuals who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars era — also rose slightly last month, from 3.5 percent in September to 3.8 percent in October. That group has also seen levels below 4.0 percent for three consecutive months.

Economic experts have cautioned against using any single month to gauge the employment situation for veterans, given the fluctuation in sampling among sub groups in their monthly employment surveys.

BLS officials said that the national unemployment rate fell from 4.8 percent in September to 4.6 percent in October.

It’s the ninth time in the last 10 months the rate is lower than the previous month, and is significantly below the 6.9 percent mark from October 2020 and the pandemic high of 14.7 percent in April 2020.

The number of jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry increased last month, as well as hiring in the business services, manufacturing and transportation sectors.

Lawmakers have made veteran training programs a priority in recent years, including the new Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program launched this spring to help individuals who lost their jobs because of pandemic closures switch to new industries.

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.

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