US Veterans unemployment saw another big drop in May

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The veterans unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to 4.1 percent in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the lowest level since the start of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The May 2021 rate is down from the 5.2 percent estimate for a month earlier and matches the unemployment estimate from March 2020, the first month of partial business closures and layoffs due to coronavirus prevention restrictions. The jobless rate spiked to 11.7 percent a month later in April 2020. The rate has steadily declined over the last 13 months.

Outside analysts warn that individual monthly employment snapshots for veterans can be volatile. Because there is a limited number of veterans surveyed by federal researchers. But Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union, said the continued positive trend for veterans in recent months is encouraging.

“It’s a good drop,” he said. “And I would suspect to see veterans employment even more towards the end of the year. Because manufacturing and construction jobs will accelerate. Many veterans are working in these industries.

Steady Decrease in Unemployment Rate

The national unemployment rate fell from 6.1 percent in April to 5.8 percent in May, the first time that number has been below 6.0 percent since the start of the pandemic.

The hospitality industry — largely shuttered by the pandemic — saw the biggest gains, with more than 292,000 added nationwide last month. Those tourism-related jobs are major employers in several southern and western states, many of which have large concentrations of veterans living there.

The veterans unemployment rate has been better than the national rate 48 of the last 50 months. Frick attributed the improvement in the veterans numbers of late to the broader national economic recovery, and not any veteran specific trends or initiatives.

“Since [the survey was finished], 21 million more adults have gotten vaccinated, making it easier for them to return to work safely,” he said. “This is historic progress in pulling our economy out of the worst crisis it has seen in 100 years.”(continue reading)

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