Obama's 'Veterans Unemployment' Claim Disproved By Government BLS Data

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | October 24, 2012 | 1:31 PM EDT

In Monday's presidential debate, Pres. Obama declared that unemployment for veterans is now lower than it is for the "general population" while it wasn't when he took office. But, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data disagree, and show unemployment is up for prime working age veterans.

Obama's Debate Claim (10/22/12): "Veterans unemployment is actually now lower than the general population, it was higher when I came into office."

BLS Data (Jan. 2009 vs. Sept. 2012) Show:

  • At 7.4%, the unemployment rate for all veterans was actually LOWER than that of both the "general population" (7.8%) and non-veterans (8.4%) when Obama took office in January of 2009,
  • The unemployment rate for veterans of prime working age has increased under Obama, rising from 8.9% to 9.7% for Gulf War II era veterans and from 5.9% to 6.6% for Gulf War I era veterans,
  • The unemployment rate for all veterans has declined under Obama (from 7.4% to 6.7%) - but only because 1,502,000 older veterans dropped out of the labor force, reducing the unemployment rate for WWII/Korea/Vietnam era veterans from 7.2% to 5.3%
  • Workforce participation has declined for all veterans (52.3% vs. 55.5%), as well as in each of the veteran groups: Gulf War II era (82.1% vs. 84.6%), Gulf War I era (83.3% vs, 87.5%), WWII/Korea/Vietnam (32.1% vs, 40.0%)

What's more, the number of unemployed Gulf War era veterans has risen since Obama took office, increasing 67,000 (from 135,000 to 202,000) for Gulf War II veterans and 14,000 (152,000 to 166,000) for Gulf War I veterans.

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