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Jobless Rate for Post-9/11 Vets Jumped to 5.1 Percent in June

FILE -- Soldiers talk with employers during the Hiring Our Heroes job fair at Fort McCoy, Wis. Hundreds of service members, veterans and prospective employers attended the event. (Army Photo/Scott T. Sturkol)
FILE -- Soldiers talk with employers during the Hiring Our Heroes job fair at Fort McCoy, Wis. Hundreds of service members, veterans and prospective employers attended the event. (Army Photo/Scott T. Sturkol)

The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans rose again in June to 5.1 percent despite an improving economy that added 220,000 jobs, which was well above market expectations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The BLS report on the employment situation nationwide in June showed that the jobless rate for post-9/11 vets, called "Gulf War-era II" veterans by the BLS, continued the trend of lagging behind the unemployment rates for all veterans, and for the civilian population.

The unemployment rate for post-9/11 vets of 5.1 percent in June was up from 4.6 percent in May and 3.9 percent in April. In May, the unemployment rate for all veterans was 3.4 percent, a 10-year low, and in June it was 3.7 percent.

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Nationwide, the overall unemployment rate in June was 4.4 percent, an uptick from 4.3 percent in May, the BLS said. Since January, the unemployment rate overall has come down by 0.4 of a percentage point.

The surprise in the BLS report was that total non-farm payroll employment increased by 222,000 in June, well above market predictions that employers would add about 170,000 jobs in June.

Employment growth had averaged about 180,000 jobs per month this year. Employment rose in health, social assistance, financial activities, and mining, the BLS said.

President Donald Trump got ahead of the BLS report earlier this week sending out a Tweet saying "Stock Market at all-time high, unemployment at lowest level in years (wages will start going up) and our base has never been stronger!"

However, despite the hiring surge, average hourly pay rose in June by just 2.5 percent from a year earlier, which was below the 3.5 percent pace typical of a healthy economy, the BLS said.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com

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