The jobs report for July was a bit better than expected, as U.S. companies added around 163,000 jobs, and the figures were even more encouraging for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The unemployment rate for vets who joined the services after September 11, 2001 fell to 8.9 percent last month, down considerably from this time last year, Military Times reports.

The latest figures, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are encouraging for a number of reasons. In addition to being indicative of a recovering economy, they also suggest that many of the veterans jobs initiatives being put in place are working as intended.

Among the most significant programs was the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which made its way through Congress last year and offers training, transition assistance and education to veterans looking for work.

Despite the improvement, the 8.9 percent unemployment rate is still above the 8.3 rate for the country as a whole, so there is still work that needs to be done. The issues has not been overlooked by lawmakers, however, with many pushing for the extension of tax breaks for companies that hire veterans, the news source reports.