First Lady Credits President For Drop In Number Of Unemployed Vets - But, Number EMPLOYED Fell Even More

August 23, 2012 - 4:10 PM

First Lady Michelle Obama credited the President for putting veterans to work in a speech at a naval station Wednesday. But, government statistics show 239,000 FEWER veterans actually have jobs today.

“As you all may know, last August -- I think you saw a video -- my husband issued a challenge to American businesses. He challenged them to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013,” the Michelle Obama told the crowd at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

“And so far this year, the number of unemployed veterans is nearly 20 percent lower than it was a year ago. So we are moving in the right direction,” the First Lady added.

And, yes, according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, the total number of unemployed veterans and spouses is down 223,000 from last year (July 2011 to July 2012).

But, the number of EMPLOYED veterans and spouses is down even more – falling 239,000 - over that same time period.

How? Well, 462,000 veterans and spouses have dropped out of the labor force (10,925,000, down from 11,387,000) - and their labor force participation rate fell from 52.7% to 51.6%.

Likewise, their employment-to-population ratio reported by the BLS fell from 48.2% to 48.1%, since fewer of the nation’s veterans and spouses are actually participating in the U.S. civilian labor force.

So, yes, the First Lady is right when she tells service personnel that the number of veterans and spouses being counted by the BLS as “unemployed” is down 223,000.

But, that only tells one part of the story, since even fewer veterans and spouses actually have jobs (239,000) and nearly half a million have left the labor force.

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