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VetJobs Veteran Employment Situation Report -- May 2013

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Veteran Employment Situation Report (VESR) for May 2013

At VetJobs we continue to see the overall employment situation as marginally improving and the economy continues to remain basically stagnant, particularly as regards employment. The expansion in the economy is lackluster at best.

The unemployment rate rose in May to 7.6% from 7.5% in April mainly because 420,000 more people began looking for work. 420,000 was twice the growth rate of April. It is a good sign if people think there are jobs to be had and are coming back into the job market. The economy in May continued to create low-paying jobs in June, as the weakest labor-market recovery since World War II continues to move sluggishly ahead.

In spite of the high unemployment of 10,744,000 in May, up from the 10,534,000 in April, VetJobs is hearing from human resource personnel and recruiters of critical labor shortages in the labor market, most notably in IT, healthcare and especially trade craft jobs.

The BLS CPS report says there were 21,439,000 veterans alive in May, down from 21,467,000 in April, a loss of 28,000 veterans in May. There were 11,203,000 veterans in the workforce in May, up 18,000 from the 11,185,000 in April. Much of the increase in veterans returning to the market place for jobs can be attributed to older veterans who have run out of retirement savings or their retirement savings are not enough to meet their basic needs. Additionally, members of the National Guard and Reserve are starting to have better success finding employment.

The CPS overall veteran unemployment rate for all veterans in May rose to 6.6% from 6.2% in April. There were 744,000 unemployed veterans in May, up 51,000 from the 693,000 unemployed veterans in April. The increase may be associated with members of the National Guard and Reserve coming back from deployments. The issue of National Guard and Reserve unemployment merits more study.

The fact that veterans as a class continue to have an overall unemployment rate that is continuously lower than the national unemployment rate reinforces veterans are still having better success finding employment than non-veterans!

Younger Veterans

An area where there has been a veteran unemployment issue over the last six years since the current call up policy was implemented on January 11, 2007 has been in the 18 to 24 year old group and the 25 to 29 year old group which make up a large part of the National Guard and Reserve (NG&R). The news for younger veterans is mixed.

The unemployment rate for the 18 to 24 year old veteran in May fell to 17.0% (27,000). That is down from the April rate of 17.9% (26,000). There are 33,000 18 to 24 year old veterans not in the labor force who are probably in school or technical training programs.

The unemployment rate for the 25 to 29 year old veterans in May was 11.2% (61,000), up significantly from the April rate of 4.9% (27,000). This reverses the trend of the 25 to 29 year old veterans having a falling unemployment rate.

For comparison, the CPS overall unemployment rate for all 18 to 24 year olds (veterans and nonveterans) in May was 15.2% (2,919,000), up from the April rate of 14.0% (2,648,000). The unemployment rate of all 25 to 29 year olds in May was 7.5% (1,255,000).

The increase in 18 to 24 and 25 to 29 year old veterans in May reverses a recent trend where young veterans were finding jobs at a better rate than their civilian counterparts. However, the overall veteran unemployment rate of 6.6% continues to reflect that veterans as a group are having better success finding jobs than their civilian counterparts, which is not to say some are not having problems.

Older Veterans

Of the 744,000 unemployed veterans in May, 717,000 were over the age of 25. The unemployment rates for older veteran groups are as follows:

30 to 34 year olds 4.0% (33,000)
35 to 39 year olds 7.6% (68,000)
40 to 44 year olds 5.3% (67,000)
45 to 49 year olds 5.2% (71,000)
50 to 54 year olds 7.5% (112,000)
55 to 59 year olds 8.3% (123,000)
60 to 64 year olds 5.9% (74,000)
65 year olds and over 5.6% (108,000)

These numbers indicate the emphasis for helping veterans with employment may need to shift from the younger veterans to the older veterans, especially those in their 50s as they now have the higher unemployment numbers.

Women Veterans

The unemployment rate for women veterans in May rose to 6.0% (86,000), up from the April rate 4.7% (66,000), an increase of 1.3% (20,000). In comparison, the unemployment rate for all women (veteran and non-veteran) in April was 6.6% (4,734,000).

The unemployment rate for 18 to 24 year old women veterans in May was unchanged from the April rate of 3.7% (2,000). This is great news as the young female rate had been high.

In contrast, the unemployment rate for all 18 to 24 women (veteran and non-veteran) in May was 13.7% (1,254,000).

Gulf War II Veterans

The unemployment rate for Gulf War II era veterans in May was 7.3% (163,000), down 0.4% from the April rate of 7.5% (170,000). This continues a downward trend from the Gulf War II veterans. Much of the success in this area can be attributed to the extensive press coverage and efforts by the White House, the US Chamber of Commerce, and military job boards like VetJobs who have been highlighting the importance of getting the Gulf War II veterans employment.

Black Veterans

The unemployment rate for Black veterans in May was 10.2% (151,000), up from the April rate of 6.0% (92,000). This represents an increase of 4.2% (59,000). The May numbers is a reversal of a downward trend in Black veteran unemployment.

In contrast, the unemployment rate for all Blacks or African Americans in May was 12.8% (2,375,000).
These numbers again lend credence to the benefits of having joined the military!

Asian Veterans

The unemployment rate for Asian veterans in May was 8.0%, (18,000), down from the April rate of 10.4% (23,000).

Hispanic Veterans

The unemployment rate for Hispanic veterans in May was 8.0% (79,000). In comparison, the unemployment rate for all Hispanics (veteran and non-veteran) was 8.2% (2,010,000).

To read a complete analysis of veteran unemployment in May, please visit https://vetjobs.com/media/category/eagle-publications/veteran-employment-situation-report/.