Today the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate for Post-9/11 veterans decreased, from 7.2 in October 2014 to 5.7 in November 2014. Among all veterans, unemployment rates also decreased, from 5.3 percent in October 2014 to 4.5 percent in November 2014. The national employment rate remained unchanged from October to November, at 5.8 percent.
Overall, unemployment trends have been positive for both Post-9/11 veterans and our nation as a whole. The unemployment rate for Post-9/11 veterans is at its lowest point since May of this year, as is the national rate, both shown in the graph below. However, there is still work to be done, as many veterans continue to struggle to find employment and transition successfully to civilian life.
This week, the USC School of Social Work held the “Honoring Their Service” event to discuss the results of the Los Angeles County Veterans Study. In this study, more than 1300 veterans in the Los Angeles area were surveyed about their transition experiences and needs after service. Among post-9/11 veterans, nearly eight out of ten reported leaving the military without a job lined up. Researchers also found that almost a quarter of veterans with jobs were underemployed, earning incomes at or below the poverty level.
These results are consistent with findings from IAVA’s 2014 Member Survey, where almost one-third of respondents stated that employment was their top challenge in transitioning out of the military. Both the LA County Veterans Study and our IAVA Member Survey show the need to improve the transition process for those leaving military service. Among other recommendations, USC researchers suggest that service members secure a job offer prior to separation and highlight the need to develop strategies for veterans with service-connected injuries, who may face more challenges in finding employment.
While we have made progress as a nation, we must continue to work toward successful employment for all of our veterans. Beyond just being employed, our veterans need meaningful work that is appropriate for their skills and experiences. For policy suggestions to improve employment outcomes for veterans and their families, see IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda.
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) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.