BLS releases report on veteran unemployment in 2011
Posted by Blake Henderson on March 20
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report this morning, the “Employment Situation of Veterans—2011.” Their top line findings were that from 2010 to 2011, the unemployment rate for new veterans (Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans) stayed high at 12.1%. This means that around 234,000 vets were out of work last year. During this same time, the national average dropped from 9.6% to 9.0%. That the general population’s unemployment rate dropped while the new veterans’ rate remained high is cause for concern.
This report could not be more timely. Next week, IAVA is bringing dozens of veterans from all across the country to Washington, DC for the 7th Annual Storm the Hill advocacy trip. Storm the Hill is an initiative that brings together Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to our nation’s capital to meet with their Senators and Representatives, VA and DoD leadership and top White House officials to advocate for the most pressing issues facing our community.
Last year, IAVA spearheaded the fight for The VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which helped vets get the one thing they need most after serving our country: a good job to come home to. But as today’s report showed, our work is not done.
So this year, we’re going back to fight even harder at Storm the Hill – we want our veterans to transition into meaningful careers to lead America as the New Greatest Generation. We just need America to make the investment in them. And that is what we will be fighting for at Storm the Hill.
Ironically, the skills that veterans learned in the military are often exactly what employers are looking for in new workers. They are entrepreneurial, technologically savvy, follow orders and – best of all – you can almost guarantee they’ll get to work on time.
Other findings of note in the report:
Veterans and education. Like 2010, the higher the level of education for new veterans, the lower the unemployment rate. This underscores the importance of IAVA spearheading the fight for the New GI Bill in 2008, keeping Congress honest with legislative upgrades and IAVA building world-class education products and resources for veterans and their families at NewGIBill.org.
New veterans working in government. New veterans are more likely to work in government than other veterans or their non-veteran counterparts, especially if they have a service-connected disability. As the government sector sheds jobs, it is critical that new veterans find opportunities in the private sector.
Age makes a difference. New veterans between the ages of 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 have higher unemployment rates than their non-veteran counterparts and older new veterans. While the unemployment rate among other young Americans went down, it stayed the same for new veterans. This only underscores the urgency of finding solutions to the employment challenges of new veterans as more service members are expected to leave the military.
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