The veterans unemployment rate in March matched its lowest rate in four years, continuing a more than year-long streak of positive jobs news for former military members.
According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, the unemployment rate among all veterans last month was 2.4%. It’s the third time in the last 13 months the jobs estimate has hit that mark.
Before then, the rate had not been that low since April 2019, when it was 2.3%. That preceded the start of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in America which spiked jobless rates throughout the country. The veterans jobless rate in April 2020 was 11.7%.
Overall, America’s employers added a solid 236,000 jobs in March, suggesting that the economy remains on solid footing despite the nine interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve has imposed over the past year in its drive to tame inflation. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, just above the 53-year low of 3.4% set in January.
Economists have cautioned that the monthly employment figures can be volatile because of limited sampling sizes and participation rates. However, the veterans unemployment numbers have shown a steady trend of improvement over the last three years.
The veterans jobless rate significantly outpaced the national unemployment rate, estimated at 3.5% in March. Veterans have outpaced their civilian counterparts in that measure each month for the last three years, and 75 times in the last 76 months.
The 2.4% unemployment rate still translates into roughly 211,000 veterans across the country actively seeking jobs but unable to find full time employment.
Among veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war era — who make up the largest group of veterans in the workforce today — the unemployment rate was slightly higher, at 2.8%.
But that mark was still significantly better than the general American population.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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.