THE BLOG
04/05/2013 04:59 pm ET Updated Jun 05, 2013

VetJobs Veteran Unemployment Situation Report (VESR) for March 2013

General Summary

The BLS CPS report says there were 21,492,000 veterans alive in March, down from 21,520,000 in February, a loss of 28,000 veterans in March. There were 11,011,000 veterans in the workforce in March, down 103,000 from the 11,114,000 in February.

The CPS overall veteran unemployment rate for all veterans in March rose 0.2% to 7.1% from 6.9% in February. There were 783,000 unemployed veterans in March, up 11,000 from the 772,000 unemployed veterans in February. The unemployment trend for veterans is definitely going down!

The fact that veterans as a class have an overall unemployment rate that is continuously lower than the national unemployment rate reinforces veterans continue to have 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). For more information see the article The REAL Veteran Unemployment Problem below.

The unemployment rate for the 18 to 24 year old veterans in March fell to 32.9% (45,000) from February's 36.2% (60,000), a decrease of 3.3%. While this is not where I would like to see the rate, it continues to decrease which is a good trend.

The unemployment rate for the 25 to 29 year old veterans in March was 8.8% (52,000), down from 9.5% (55,000) in February. This is a decrease of 0.7% (3,000). The fact that the 18 to 24 and the 25 to 29 year old veterans unemployment rate continues to fall is good news.

For comparison, the CPS overall unemployment rate for all 18 to 24 year olds (veterans and nonveterans) in March was 14.8% (2,767,000), down from Februarys 15.5% (2,917,000), a decrease of 0.7%.

Again, the overall veteran unemployment rate of 7.1% 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.

Employers continue to shy away from hiring as a new employee an active member of the NG&R due to the constant call-ups which will only increase with the continued reductions of the active duty forces. Employers cannot run their companies when their human capital is taken away for 12 months or more. But if the veteran is totally separated from the military, they are in high demand.

Women Veterans

The unemployment rate for women veterans in March rose to 8.0% (111,000), up 0.6% (8,000) from the February rate of 7.4% (103,000). In comparison, the unemployment rate for all women (veteran and non-veteran) in March was 6.9% (4,961,000), down from Februarys 7.3% (5,264,000).

The unemployment rate for 18 to 24 year old women veterans in February fell to 32.3% (10,000) down significantly from Februarys 51.2% (23,000), a decrease of 18.9% (13,000). This is great news!

VetJobs is still trying to ascertain why the 18 to 24 year old women's unemployment rate remains so high. The rate cannot be accounted for just in the returning NG&R numbers or the active duty downsizing. The young women's unemployment rate is the worst part of veteran unemployment at this time. It has been suggested that many of the 18 to 24 year old veterans cannot find meaningful work at comparable pay, thus decide to remain unemployed, possibly drawing more unemployment than they could get working a job. This issue bears more study.

In contrast, the unemployment rate for all 18 to 24 women (veteran and non-veteran) in March was 12.7% (1,130,000). The 18 to 24 year old women veteran unemployment rate remains disproportionately high relative to the overall women population unemployment rate and the overall veteran unemployment rate.

Gulf War II Veterans

The unemployment rate for Gulf War II era veterans in March fell to 9.2% (207,000) from Februarys 9.4% (203,000), a decrease of 0.2% (4,000).

Black Veterans

The unemployment rate for Black veterans in March fell to 6.9% (103,000) from Februarys 7.1% (110,000), a decrease of 0.2% (8,000). This is more good news. In contrast, the unemployment rate for all Blacks in March was 12.6% (2,299,000). These numbers again lend credence to the benefits of having joined the military!

Asian Veterans

The unemployment rate for Asian veterans in March fell to 6.3% (13,000), down from Februarys 12.1% (26,000). The unemployment rate for all Asians in March was 5.0% (418,000).