High unemployment still haunting U.S. military veterans

WASHINGTON Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:52pm EDT

A sign points the way for military personnel, veterans and military spouses attending the Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Washington January 10, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

A sign points the way for military personnel, veterans and military spouses attending the Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Washington January 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Unemployment among U.S. military veterans eased last year, government data showed on Thursday, but remained far higher than the national average rate for the civilian population.

The unemployment rate among veterans who had joined the military after September 11, 2001, averaged 9.0 percent last year, down from 9.9 percent in 2012, the Labor Department said. That was about 1.6 percentage points above the rate for the civilian population.

Joblessness among this group is set to worsen as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Pentagon's proposed budget calls for the U.S. Army to shrink to around 450,000 from a war-time high of 570,000.

The Obama administration and the U.S. Congress have pushed forward an array of measures, including tax credits for companies employing veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

"There is still much work to be done for our nation's youngest veterans," said James Jones, co-chair at the non-profit Call of Duty Endowment in Arlington, Virginia.

"These brave young men and women bring tremendous value to the workplace and it is the job of executives and hiring managers alike to promote their worth and eradicate the still-evident discrepancy in employment rates."

Call of Duty Endowment helps veterans find careers by supporting groups that prepare them for the job market.

Research by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago economists last year found that veterans deployed overseas for prolonged periods struggled to find work because of the traumas of war, as well as training that did not readily translate into the civilian world.

Among 9/11 military veterans, women suffered the most from high joblessness, with an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent in 2013. That compared to 12.5 percent in 2012. Unemployed female veterans were concentrated in the 18-34 age group last year.

The unemployment rate for men was 8.8 percent, down from 9.5 percent the previous year. Unemployment was high for men in the 18-24 age group, with the rate at 24.3 percent.

For men aged 25 to 34, the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. For male veterans 35 and older, the unemployment rate was below 6.5 percent last year.

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (6)
SunnyDaySam wrote:
This wouldn’t have anything to do with the Republicans killing the Veteran’s Jobs Retraining Act, would it?

Mar 20, 2014 5:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
“Senate Republicans derailed efforts to move forward with a $21 billion bill to enhance health care, education and job benefits for veterans. Republicans stopped the veterans bill from moving on a procedural vote, which needed 60 votes. The final tally was 56-41.”


To the GOP, even veterans are expendable in their quest to obstruct ANYTHING and EVERYTHING the president tries to do. Ah, who am I kidding? The men and women of the US military have ALWAYS been expendable to the GOP; why should this be any different?

I guess they feel that, when it comes to “Supporting The Troops”, putting a yellow ribbon sticker on their car is “enough”.

Mar 20, 2014 5:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

Do you think this issue just happened in the last 3 weeks? That was when that bill was voted down. You know the word still indicates this has been a long term issue right?

“The bill would have improved benefits for veterans, including better health care and dental services provided by the VA. It also would have guaranteed post-9/11 veterans access to in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in any state.”

Do you see what I see? Nothing that would help Veterans get a job. They can still get in-state tuition rates in their own state like everyone else. $21 billion was a steep number for a bill that doesn’t do much of anything.

“Republicans and Democrats normally agree on the need to enhance benefits for the nation’s 22 million veterans and their families, but Republican senators wanted to lower the amount of spending in the bill. The GOP senators also wanted to include a measure that would have imposed new sanctions against Iran, which President Obama has warned against doing at this time. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked the amendments from being considered.”


If Harry Reid hadn’t blocked the amendments the bill would have gone through. Spread the blame where it is due. The leader of the Senate that has refused to bring up for vote over 30 jobs bills from the US House.

Mar 20, 2014 6:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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