Veteran unemployment rates at an 18-year low, strong hiring continues overall

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits the second week of February, the Department of Labor reports, suggesting that layoffs have declined and hiring likely remains strong.

Additionally, President Donald Trump announced that veteran unemployment rates were at an 18-year low – and roughly two-thirds less than their peak unemployment rate of 12.1 percent in 2011.

According to the Military Times, after 9/11 and “in the wake of the Great Recession, unemployment rates for the latest generation of veterans spiked to crisis levels.” As of December 2018, for the first time since 2001, the unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans dropped below 4 percent, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The 3.8-percent annual unemployment rate among this group of veterans represents a seven-year trend of declines since 2011, when post-9/11 veteran unemployment reached 12.1 percent.

The bureau reported that the unemployment rate for veterans of all generations dropped to 3.5 percent.

The trend of fewer claims for unemployment benefits continues, the Department of Labor reported Friday, noting that weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell to a historically low level.

Approximately 23,000 fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week. The seasonally adjusted number of beneficiaries was 216,000. The four-week average rose to 235,750, the department stated.

The department states that businesses are hiring at healthy levels and posted the greatest number of open jobs in nearly two decades as of December 2018. With employee demand remaining strong, the department notes that companies are seeking to retain them.

Because less people are being laid off, unemployment benefit applications are down, the department states.

While manufacturing output and retail sales fell over the past two months, consumer optimism has increased, which the department says could revive spending.

During Trump’s first year in office, there were 1.8 million more people working in January 2017 than in December 2016. During former President Obama’s first year, there were 4.3 million fewer people working during the same comparative timeframe, according to an analysis by Philip Bump at the Washington Post.

Over the next few years under Obama, increases in employment reported higher monthly averages than under Trump in 2017. However, by comparison of first years, Bump writes, “Trump consistently outperforms Obama.”

In the summer and fall of 2018, the economy expanded by a rate of 3.8 percent. The report on fourth-quarter growth has not yet been released because of the 35-day government shutdown. It is scheduled to be released later this week.

Economic growth for the first three months of this year is projected to be as low as 1.5 percent to 2 percent, the Associated Press reports.

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