The unemployment rate for the newest generation of veterans jumped by 1 full percentage point in October, according to new federal data, but the figure of 7.2 percent is about average for 2014 and actually a marked improvement from last year's overall unemployment rate of 9 percent for that group.
Meanwhile, the nation added 214,000 jobs, allowing the overall unemployment rate to tick down to 5.8 percent last month from 5.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate has charted a rather steady decline in 2014.
By contrast, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans has been quite volatile, falling or increasing by at least a full percentage point from one month to the next in every 2014 unemployment report except one. That is characteristic of the measure, which is based on a much smaller sample size than other unemployment data.
Rather than reading too deeply into month-to-month changes, statisticians recommend comparing the same month over previous years and looking for broader trends.
From that perspective, this October's 7.2 percent unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is the lowest ever recorded for the month of October. In only one other year — 2008, the first October for which the bureau collected data on this particular group of vets — has the month's rate been below 10 percent.
For veterans of all generations, unemployment fell to 4.5 percent in October, down from 4.7 percent in September and 6.9 percent in October 2013.