Today the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported that the July unemployment rate for Post 9/11 veterans increased to 9.2 percent, up from 7.0 percent in June. All veteran unemployment also showed an increase: up to 6.0 percent from 5.4 percent in June. The national unemployment rate also increased slightly to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent in June. This is the second month in a row that the veteran unemployment rates have increased.
While it’s still too soon to sound the alarms (overall the veteran and national unemployment rates have been steadily trending downward for months), these numbers remind us that we can’t become complacent when it comes to employing our vets. It’s in the nation’s best interest to ensure that we invest in their future by employing our veterans.
IAVA recently released the findings of its annual member survey. Over 2,000 IAVA members, combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan took the time to tell us about their experiences. Among other things, they told us employment continues to be an important issue for this generation of veterans. While over half of IAVA’s survey respondents were employed, 10 percent were unemployed at the time they took the survey. The rest were either active duty, students, disabled or retired. Roughly two out of three of these were unemployed for more than 27 weeks. Seventy-seven percent told us they had experienced a period of unemployment at some time after separating from the military; One quarter of those were unemployed for over a year.
While unemployment rates in the long-term have been trending downward, challenges remain for our veterans. The data these last two months show this and our members remind us every day. The data represent talented, intelligent and skilled veterans who have served this nation and are coming home looking to put their skills to use. We need to remember that. It behooves this nation to invest in our veterans and particularly this newest generation of vets. These are our future leaders. They have served this nation for over a decade. Not only do we owe it to them to recognize that and to support them as they transition home, but we owe it to ourselves as a nation as well.
For veterans who are facing hardship due to being underemployed or unemployed, we encourage you to contact our Rapid Response Referral (RRRP) team to get connected with resources to help you. Contact us directly by calling the toll free number: 855-91-RAPID (855-917-2743) emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.