Veterans Employment Situation Report – November 2012

December 7, 2012

Veteran Employment Situation Report for November 2012
Issue 12-12
December 7, 2012

Welcome to the VetJobs Veteran Employment Situation Report covering November 2012. This report is in three parts. The first will summarize the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on the labor market, the second covers where the jobs were created, meaning at what type of jobs one would have the best chance of finding employment. The third covers the employment situation in the veteran market.

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DOL reports the unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.7% in November, but the economy continued to show vulnerability in the face of sweeping tax hikes and spending cuts hitting as early as next month. The DOL report underscores how ill-equipped the economy is to withstand the looming fiscal crisis which economists warn could send the country plunging back into recession unless lawmakers avert it.

The DOL report says the economy added 146,000 jobs in November. On the positive side, the government said Super Storm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures. While the jobless rate fell from 7.9% to 7.7%, the lowest since December 2008, the dip was due in large part to again more people giving up finding a job, thus the total number of people in the workforce is reduced. By reducing the total number of people in the workforce, the DOL computations for the unemployment rate goes down. DOL revised previous month’s reports saying employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September than initially reported. This has become common where DOL is revising previous month’s reports downward.

John Galvin, Acting Commissioner of BLS reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 146,000 in November. In 2012 job gains have averaged 151,000 per month, essentially the same as in 2011. In November, employment rose in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care.

Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents in November to $23.63. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.7%. From October 2011 to October 2012, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 2.2%. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 34.4 hours in November.

Of the 12.0 million unemployed, 40.1% had been jobless for 27 weeks or more in November, about the same as in October.

The labor force participation rate–the share of the population that was working or looking for work–declined to 63.6% in November, offsetting an increase of the same amount in October. The employment-population ratio, at 58.7%, changed little in November.

Among persons who were not working nor looking for work in November, 2.5 million were classified as marginally attached to the labor force, about unchanged from a year earlier. These individuals wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was 979,000 in November, little changed from a year earlier.

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For those people looking for work, the following paragraphs from BLS will give an idea of where new jobs were created.

BLS reports that in November, retail trade added 53,000 jobs. Over the past 3 months, retail trade employment has increased by 140,000. Over the month, job gains occurred in clothing and accessories stores (+33,000), in general merchandise stores (+10,000), and in electronics and appliance stores (+9,000).

Professional and business services added 43,000 jobs in November. Employment continued to increase in computer systems design and related services.

Health care continued to add jobs over the month (+20,000). Within this industry, employment rose in hospitals (+8,000) and in nursing care facilities (+5,000).

Wholesale trade employment edged up in November (+13,000). Since a recent low in May 2010, wholesale trade has added 228,000 jobs. Employment in information technology went up (+12,000) in November due to employment gains in motion picture and sound recording. Information employment has changed little, on net, over the past 12 months.

Employment in construction declined 20,000 in November. Construction of buildings accounted for much of the decline.

Manufacturing employment changed little over the month. Job losses in food manufacturing (-12,000) and in chemicals (-9,000) more than offset gains in motor vehicles and parts (+10,000) and in wood products (+3,000).

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General Summary

The BLS CPS report says there were 21,042,000 veterans alive in November, down from 21,072,000 in September, a loss of 30,000 veterans in November. There were 10,921,000 veterans in the workforce in November, down from 10,948,000 in October. This is a decrease of 27,000 veterans and continues the long term steady decline of veterans in the workforce.

The CPS overall veteran unemployment rate for all veterans in November is 6.6%, an increase of .3% from the October rate of 6.3%. There were 721,000 unemployed veterans in November, up 32,000 from the 689,000 unemployed veterans in October.

The fact that veterans as a class have an overall unemployment rate that is lower than the national unemployment rate continues to indicate that veterans are having better success finding employment than non-veterans.

Younger Veterans

An area where there has been a veteran unemployment issue over the last five years is in the 18 to 24 year old group and the 25 to 29 year old group.

The unemployment rate for the 18 to 24 year old veterans in November is 26.5% (63,000), up from the October rate which was 24.8% (55,000). This is an increase of 8,000 unemployed 18 to 24 year old veterans. This may be tied to the return of several large National Guard and Reserve brigades.

The unemployment rate for the 25 to 29 year old veterans in November is 10.0% (54,000), down from the October rate which was 10.7% (61,000). This is an improvement of 7,000.

VetJobs estimates that a substantial number of the unemployed 18 to 29 year old veterans are in the NG&R which would explain their high unemployment rate.

For comparison, the CPS overall unemployment rate for all 18 to 24 year olds (veterans and nonveterans) in November is 13.5% (2,591,000), down from the October rate which was 14.8% (2,846,000). The fact that the 18 to 24 year old veteran unemployment rate is 13.0% is higher than the non-veteran rate is disturbing news. VetJobs had predicted the young veteran unemployment rate would go up as more NG&R units returned.

However, the overall veteran unemployment rate of 6.6% continues to reflect that the veterans as a group are having better success finding jobs than their civilian counterparts, which is not to say some are not having problems.

Employers continue to shy away from hiring as a new employee an active member of the NG&R due to the constant call-ups. Employers cannot run their companies when their human capital is taken away for 12 months or more.

Gulf War II Veterans

BLS CPS reports that the employment status of Gulf War II veterans in November is 10% (211,000), basically unchanged from the October rate of 10% (209,000).

Women Veterans

The CPS unemployment rate for all women veterans in November is 9.3% (108,000), down from October’s rate of 9.5% (105,000). The unemployment rate for women veteran has improved greatly over the last three months. The CPS unemployment for all women in October is 7.0% (5,007,000).

The November unemployment rate for Gulf War II women is 12.9% (40,000), a 2.9% improvement of October’s rate of 15.5% (44,000). While this is an improvement, it is still higher than the August rate of 9.6% (57,000).

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CES versus CPS

A number of people have asked about the difference between the CES and the CPS unemployment reports. There has been a lot of confusion in the press regarding veteran unemployment rates because there are two unemployment reports generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and many press reports do not specify which unemployment rate they are using.

One is the Current Employment Statistics (CES), also referred to as the Current Employer Survey, which is a survey of mostly large companies and government agencies reports on hires and layoffs to determine how many jobs were added or lost each month. The CES does not have a good representation of small businesses which is where most new jobs are created.

The second report is the Current Population Survey (CPS), frequently referred to as the Household Survey. The CPS is a joint effort between the BLS and the Census Bureau. The CPS picks up hiring by companies of all sizes, new companies, farm workers and the self-employed who are not included in the CES. The CPS has been shown to be more reliable and does a better job of picking up the shift in hiring because it includes small business hiring which is where most new jobs are created.

For the most part, I use CPS data instead of CES data.

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Thank you for reading the November VetJobs Veteran Employment Situation Report. If you have any questions, please contact Ted Daywalt at or call 877-838-5627 (877-Vet-Jobs).

Should you know of others who may want this information, they can sign up for the report by sending an email request to

Ted Daywalt

P. O. Box 71445
Marietta, GA 30007-1445
o 877.838.5627 (877-Vet-Jobs)
o 770-993-5117
f 770-993-2875

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