Veterans’ Jobless Rate Jumps above 15%

Friday, February 11, 2011
Veterans at job fair
While the national unemployment rate has gone down, the jobless rate among veterans has climbed higher.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that more than 15% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were unemployed in January, the highest level recorded since the federal government began collecting data on veterans in 2005.
The current rate of 15.2% was more than two and a half points higher than the January 2010 figure of 12.6%. As recently as November the rate was 9.4% and in December it was 11.7%. This is also more than 6% above the nation’s overall rate of 9%.
Veterans’ advocates fear the level will only continue to climb once the U.S. begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, adding even more veterans to the pool of job seekers.
Some members of Congress have pushed for legislation that would give veterans extra assistance after their unemployment level reaches double digits. The plan would create and expand federal programs to retrain ex-soldiers for working in the civilian world and expand job assistance during the transition period.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Careers After Combat Employment and Education Challenges for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (by Vanessa Williamson and Erin Mulhall, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) (pdf)


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