Unemployment among America’s military veterans reached an all-time low in 2018, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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For the year, unemployment among post-9/11 vets fell below 4 percent, to 3.8 percent, for the first time, as first reported by the Military Times.
For veterans of all ages, the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent – the lowest level since 2000. That compares with 3.7 percent in 2017 – which was the lowest annual rate since 2001.
In December, the unemployment rate for veterans ages 18 and over was 3.2 percent, compared with 3.8 percent from the same period one year ago.
Additionally, homelessness among veterans decreased by 5.4 percent last year, the fact-finding agency reported.
The national unemployment rate for all workers was 3.9 percent in December – a slight rise from previous readings of 3.7 percent, which was the lowest rate in about 50 years.
In 2011, during the height of the financial crisis, unemployment among veterans spiked above 12 percent. In the years since, there have been a number of initiatives launched among companies and the federal government to promote hiring former military workers.
E-commerce giant Amazon, for example, is one company that actively recruits service members and their families for jobs.
In Washington, D.C., in particular – the site of one of Amazon’s new HQ2 locations – skilled former service members with security clearances tend to be in high demand among the nation’s defense contractors.
Military members received a 2.6 percent pay raise in January, while veterans will see a 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment in their compensation this year.
Over the past 18 years, pay increases among active-duty military members rose meaningfully faster than those enjoyed by civilians. In 2000, a midlevel soldier made 10 percent less than the average American – but just 11 years later, the same soldier was making 10 percent more, without including benefits.
Military members also have access to one of the best pension plans, with benefits that begin upon the day of retirement, regardless of age. After 20 years of service, members receive a pension equal to between 40 percent and 50 percent of their last paycheck.