Veteran Employment Situation Report

Veteran Employment Situation Report

August 2016 VetJobs Veteran Employment Situation Report (VESR) covering veteran unemployment for JULY 2016. The VESR is published on the Friday of the month when the Department of Labor (DOL) releases the unemployment reports.

This report is in three parts.

-The first section will be an editorial providing a brief overview of the economy and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on the labor market.

-The second covers where the jobs were created and where one would currently have the best chance for finding employment.

-The third covers specifically the employment situation of veterans.

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Editorial Overview

There was good news for the US economy today as the Bureau of Labor Services reports that July saw the creation of 255,000 jobs and the national unemployment rate remained at 4.9%! That is great news as due to the size of the American economy, at least 250,000 new jobs a month need to be created to have real growth. In a political season, job growth is a good thing to have for all the political candidates.

If you take the last three months of job growth, the economy has averaged 190,000 new jobs per month which is short of real growth; not where the country needs to be in terms of job creation. In the 12 months prior to July, employment growth averaged 206,000 per month. This would help explain why many feel the country is not moving in the right direction. People want jobs.

Employers want candidates to fill their jobs. But employers are frustrated that way too many candidates do not have the skills required by companies. Which is why there are over 200,000 vacancies in manufacturing in the United States. The jobs are there, but candidates with the skills are not available.

Disappointingly, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annualized rate of 1.2% in the second quarter, the worst quarterly growth since 1949.

A bright spot in the economy last quarter is in the final sales of domestic product. That increased 2.4%, double the rate of overall GDP, and would normally indicate a deeper use of inventory. That would normally hint at future growth, but this same measure has been running ahead of overall GDP for several quarters in a row, and so far, it has not to heralded any new burst of expansion.

The economy has grown at less than a 2% pace for three straight quarters. Since the recession ended seven years ago, the expansion has failed to achieve the breakout growth seen in past recoveries. The average annual growth rate during the current business cycle remains the weakest of any expansion since at least 1949.

The July report is good news. But one month does not a trend make. Let’s hope that August and September continue what could be a turnaround in July!

More good news is that the national veteran unemployment rate for July was 4.7%, again less than the national unemployment rate of 4.9%. This again confirms that veterans are getting jobs at a better rate than non-veterans!

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From the BLS

Erica L. Groshen, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that non-farm payroll employment rose by 255,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9%. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities. Employment in mining continued to trend down.

As an editorial note, the continued downward trend in mining is not good. Mining and petroleum services are deep forward leading indicators of the future performance of the economy. With mining continuing downward, it raises questions about future economic performance.

Incorporating revisions for May and June, which increased non-farm payroll employment by 18,000, monthly job gains have averaged 190,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 months prior to July, employment growth averaged 206,000 per month.

Average hourly earnings of all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 8 cents in July to $25.69. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6%. From June 2015 to June 2016, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.1% (on a seasonally adjusted basis).

Most major labor market measures from the survey of households showed little or no movement in July. The unemployment rate held at 4.9%, and the number of unemployed people, at 7.8 million, was essentially unchanged over the month. Both measures have shown little movement on net since August.

Among the unemployed in July, 2.0 million, or 27% of the total, were long-term unemployed–that is, they had been looking for work for 27 weeks or more. Long-term unemployment has shown little movement on net over the past 13 months.

The labor force participation rate was 62.8% in July, lowest rate since the 1970s, and the employment-population ratio was 59.7%. Both measures have shown little change in recent months.

Among those employed in July, 5.9 million were working part time for economic reasons, little changed from the prior month. (These individuals, also referred to as involuntary part-time workers, would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work.)

Among people who were neither working nor looking for work in July, 2.0 million were marginally attached to the labor force, about the same as a year earlier. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, numbered 591,000 in July, also about the same as a year earlier. (Marginally attached to the labor force refers to those who had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey, but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months.)

In summary, non-farm payroll employment rose by 255,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9%.

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For those people looking for work, the following paragraphs from the BLS commissioner’s report indicates where the new jobs were created. If you are looking for a job, these areas may offer employment opportunities.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 70,000 in July, and has risen by 550,000 over the year. Within the industry, job gains occurred over the month in computer systems design and related services (+8,000) and architectural and engineering services (+7,000). Employment also continued to trend up in management and technical consulting services (+6,000).

Health care added 43,000 jobs in July, with gains in ambulatory health care services (+19,000), hospitals (+17,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+7,000). Over the past 12 months, health care employment has grown by 477,000.

Employment in financial activities rose by 18,000 in July. Over the year, this industry has added 162,000 jobs.

Leisure and hospitality employment continued to trend up in July (+45,000). Within the industry, employment in food services and drinking places changed little (+21,000). Thus far this year, food services has added an average of 18,000 jobs per month, compared with an average of 30,000 per month in 2015.

Employment in government edged up in July (+38,000).

Mining employment continued to trend down in July (-6,000), and has declined by 220,000 since its recent peak in September 2014. Three-fourths of the job losses since the peak have been in support activities for mining.

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General Summary from CPS Veterans Report

The BLS CPS report states there were 20,883,000 veterans left in the United States in July, down 24,000 from the 20,907,000 veterans in June. As I have said many times, since the Vietnam War the trend of veterans in the United States has continuously been decreasing. America has lost two-thirds of its veterans since the Vietnam War.

BLS CPS reports there were 10,621,000 (50.9%) veterans in the workforce in July. That represents an increase of 113,000 from the 10,508,000 veterans in the workforce in June.

449,000 (4.7%) veterans were unemployed in July, up 7,000 from the 442,000 (4.2%) veterans who were unemployed in June. 10,262,000 veterans were not in the workforce in July. This number shows there are a lot of veterans sitting on the sidelines and not participating in the workforce. This is also true of civilians where over 90 million are not participating in the workforce. In spite of what politicians may say, you cannot have a thriving economy with so many people not participating in the workforce.

The really good news is the overall veteran unemployment rate continues to be lower than the national unemployment rate. The fact that the veteran unemployment rate of 4.7% is lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.9% is great news for the veteran community. And again demonstrates that veterans are in high demand in the civilian work place. The July 4.7% veteran unemployment rate while having risen again confirms that veterans are obtaining employment at a better rate than nonveterans.

Younger Veterans

In July there were 234,000 veterans in the 18 to 24-year old cohort, down from 251,000 in June. Of those, 170,000 (72.8%) were in the civilian labor force, of which 160,000 (68.7%) were employed and 10,000 (5.7%) were unemployed. For comparison, the national 18 to 24-year old unemployment rate in July was 10.6% (2,160,000).

There were 1,743,000 veterans in the 25 to 34-year old veteran cohort in July, up 12,000 from June. Of this group, 1,461,000 (83.8%) were in the workforce of which 1,353,000 (77.6%) were employed and 108,000 (7.4%) were unemployed. 283,000 were not in the workforce. For comparison, the national unemployment rate for the 25 to 34 year old in July was 5.2% (1,838,000)

Older Veterans

The unemployment rates for the older veteran cohorts are as follows:

July                                        June

35 to 44 year-old            5.6% (110,000)                   4.1% (80,000)
45 to 54 year-old            3.1% (85,000)                     3.0% (81,000)
55 to 64 year-old            4.7% (111,000)                   4.0% (91,000)
65 year-old and over      4.0% (76,000)                     4.5% (88,000)

The above numbers indicate that older veterans in July found jobs at a better rate than non-veterans given that the national unemployment rate is 4.9%. Most economists view unemployment rates of below 4.5% to 5.0% as just the normal churn of people moving between jobs. Some refer to it as natural unemployment. No matter what one calls it, the overall numbers for veteran unemployment are very strong when compared to their civilian counterparts!

Women Veterans

There were 2,015,000 women veterans in July. 1,213,000 (60.2%) were in the civilian labor force of which 1,129,000 (56.0%) were employed, and 84,000 (6.9%) were unemployed. This is an increase of 1.9% unemployed from the previous month. 802,000 women veterans were not in the workforce in July The national unemployment rate for women in July was 5.0% (3,686,000).

Gulf War II Veterans

There were 3,892,000 Gulf War II era veterans in July. 3,207,000 (82.4%) were in the workforce. Of those, 3,019,000 (77.6%) were employed and 188,000 (5.9%) were unemployed. 685,000 Gulf War II era veterans were not in the labor force.

Black Veterans

There were 2,400,000 black veterans in July, of which 1,343,000 (55.9%) were in the civilian work force. 1,239,000 (51.6%) were employed and 104,000 (7.7%) were unemployed. The national Black unemployment rate in July was 8.6% (1,666,000). The national Black unemployment rate is higher than the Black veteran unemployment rate. These numbers again confirm the advantages of minorities joining the military to obtain employment skills and work experience. From these numbers, the Black veterans are definitely finding jobs at a better rate than their Black civilian counterparts!

Asian Veterans

There were 315,000 Asian veterans in July of which 204,000 (64.7%) were in the workforce. 197,000 (62.5) were employed and 7,000 (3.4%) were unemployed. 111,000 were not in the labor force. The national Asian unemployment rate in July was 3.9% (378,000).

Hispanic Veterans

There were 1,468,000 Hispanic veterans in July of which 893,000 (60.8%) were in the workforce. 826,000 (56.3%) were employed and 66,000 (7.4%) were unemployed. 576,000 were not in the workforce. The national unemployment rate for Hispanics in July was 5.4% (1,426,000).

White Veterans

There were 17,554,000 White veterans in July of which 8,694,000 (49.5%) were in the workforce. 8,331,000 (47.5%) were employed and 362,000 (4.2%) were unemployed. 8,860,000 White veterans were not in the workforce. The national White unemployment rate in July was 4.3% (5,349,000).