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By Peter S. Gaytan
Despite the fact that the overall unemployment rate has been dropping, for young veterans between the ages of 18-24, the outlook continues to be dismal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in three young vets was jobless in the last quarter of 2011. That’s up from a year ago, when it was one in five who were without employment. The overall unemployment rate for young vets is 13.1 percent, double the rate of their civilian peers.
Nearly 22 percent of female vets (about 50,000 women) who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were unemployed in December 2011. The jobless rates for this group took a small dip after the first quarter, but then rose steadily, ending the year at 16.8 percent.
Economists believe that the high jobless rate is a result of young vets not acquiring marketable skills. Jim Borbely, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said in an interview with USA Today, that young “veterans are facing a labor market that is not as forgiving in what they may lack in job experience. They’ve got the military experience, but that doesn’t translate.”
The “Hire a Veteran” bill signed into law in November 2011, offers job training for new veterans, as well as tax incentives to employers who hire vets. Senator Patty Murray, chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said the new law “will require the military to give each and every separating service member tools to help them bring the skills they learned in the field into the working world.” The program for vets will also help them translate their military work resume into the language of the civilian workplace.
Economists believe that the high rate of unemployment among women veterans may be a result of women seeking employment in the areas now experiencing severe cutbacks like education and the public sector.
For more information on the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, go to: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf
Peter S. Gaytan is the author of For Service To Your Country – Updated Edition: The Essential Guide to Getting the Veterans’ Benefits You’ve Earned (Citadel, 2011), available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers. He has served as an advocate in securing and protecting the earned benefits of America’s veterans for more than a decade. Gaytan is the Executive Director of the American Legion, the largest
veterans service organization in America.