Veteran Unemployment Rate 2.9% in December

In December 2019, the veteran unemployment rate dropped to 2.9%, down from 3.3% last month. The comparable 18+ non-veteran unemployment rate was 3.4% in December 2019. This is the 16th consecutive month when the veteran unemployment rate was lower than the non-veteran unemployment rate. Additionally, the veteran unemployment rate for the calendar year of 2019 was 3.1%, which is the lowest annual veteran unemployment rate since 2000. This is a decline from last year’s veteran unemployment rate of 3.5%.

ICYMI: Seasonally and Non-Seasonally Adjusted Data

Historically, we have referenced the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for veterans. However, beginning July 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began publishing the seasonally adjusted veteran unemployment rate. This adjustment accounts for any predictable seasonal patterns in the data and allows for better month-to-month comparisons; we will utilize this data series going forward.

The full seasonally adjusted veteran unemployment rate series going back to 2003 is available here: Veteran Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates. If you are interested in the non-seasonally adjusted data, that is still available here: Non-Seasonally Adjusted Data.

Employment Situation of Veterans – 2018

The annual veteran unemployment rate declined to 3.5% in 2018 – the lowest level since 2000. Read the full report.

Some highlights from the 2018 report include:

  • The jobless rate for all veterans fell to an 18-year low of 3.5% in 2018, from its peak at 9.9% in 2011.
  • Unemployment for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001 dropped from 4.5% in 2017, to 3.5% in 2018 – the lowest rate recorded since BLS began collecting the data in 2008.
  • The unemployment rate for women veterans fell to 3.0% in 2018.
  • Among the 326,000 unemployed veterans in 2018, nearly 60% were age 45 and over; 35% were ages 25-44, and 6% were ages 18-24.
  • As of August 2018, about one in three employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the public sector, compared to about one in five veterans with no disability.
  • The unemployment rate of veterans varied across the country, ranging from 1.4% in Iowa to 6.5% in the District of Columbia.


Map. Unemployment rate, by state, veterans ages 18 and over, annual average, 2016