By Debbie Gregory.
The employment outlook for 9/11 veterans is looking brighter. For the fourth straight month, the unemployment rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is lower than the overall unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.
Unemployment is highly dependent on economic activity. In fact, growth and unemployment can be thought of as two sides of the same coin, when economic activity is high, more production happens overall, and more people are needed to produce the higher amount of goods and services. And when economic activity is low, firms reduce their workforces, and unemployment rises.
However, unemployment does not fall in lockstep with an increase in growth. It is common for businesses to first try to recover from a downturn by having the same number of employees do more work, or turn out more products. In other words, increase their productivity. It is only when recovery takes hold that businesses are likely to add workers. As a consequence, unemployment may start to come down well after an economic recovery begins.
Members of the Federal Reserve agree that the job market is improving. Bond purchases by the Federal Reserve have helped keep long-term interest rates low in order to spur spending. The bond purchases that began in September have helped the economy grow and add thousands of jobs each month.
Consumer confidence has reached its highest level in four years, and unemployment claims fell, pointing to a brighter job market which will invigorate the U.S. economy even more.
The unemployment rate for veterans has fallen to 6.7 percent – the lowest 12-month average unemployment rate since 2009.
Unemployment is still a concern for nonveterans and veterans alike. While the issue has improved for veterans and civilians over the last few years, the country continues to struggle with high unemployment rates.
Veterans offer a unique set of skills, experiences and leadership abilities developed and honed during their years in the military and in the crucible of combat.
With tens of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans returning from service and looking to start new careers in a challenging economic environment, the nation is focused more than ever on helping Veterans transition into civilian careers.