Latest Unemployment Numbers Reinforces Need for Senate to Act
Posted by Moran Banai on November 4
Less than a week before Veterans Day, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released October unemployment numbers this morning that show that OEF/OIF-era unemployment continues to trend higher than the national average. OEF/OIF-era veterans had an unemployment rate of 12.1 percent in October – more than 3 percentage points higher than the national average. That means 240,000 new veterans were looking for work last month.
Today the Senate will introduce the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which it plans to vote on next week. This bill will include key provisions from the VOW Act that passed out of the House last month, Senator Murray’s Hiring Heroes Act, and tax breaks to businesses for hiring veterans. IAVA is calling Senators on both sides of the aisle to put aside partisan politics and stand together to support America's veterans by unanimously passing the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. Click here to read IAVA's statement applauding this newly announced veterans jobs bill.
For the past few years, the unemployment rate for OEF/OIF-era veterans has trended higher and higher. While the average national unemployment rate so far for 2011 has stabilized at around 9 percent, lower than last year’s 9.6 percent average, the average unemployment rate for OEF/OIF-era veterans so far in 2011 is 12.1 percent, higher than last year’s average of 11.5 percent.
The VOW to Hire Heroes Act will address several key issues new veterans face as they struggle to find jobs. It will revamp the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) that prepares service members for the transition out of the military and into the civilian workplace. The last time this program was revamped was 17 years ago, when job hunting involved phone calls and shoe leather, not emails and online job networking sites. It would also mandate a study to help translate experiences tied to Military Occupational Specialties into civilian skill sets. This would help veterans explain to prospective employers the marketable skills they developed in the military; it would also help those employers better understand why hiring veterans is such a good investment. And it will provide tax credits to businesses that hire veterans, further incentivizing the hiring of veterans in a tough economy.
As America prepares to celebrate and honor the contribution of our veterans on 11/11/11, the Senate should make passing this legislation its top priority. Our veterans fought and sacrificed to protect the United States, they shouldn’t come home to an unemployment check.
To learn more about IAVA’s top policy priorities this year and how all Americans can help end veterans unemployment, read IAVA’s 2011 Policy Agenda. For a deeper look at veterans’ employment issues, visit our Combat to Career headquarters and read IAVA’s Issue Report Careers After Combat: Employment and Education Challenges for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.
Moran Banai is IAVA’s Senior Research Associate in Washington, DC, where she leads the efforts of IAVA’s research team. She has a BA from Brown University and Master in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
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