Closing the Gap - Veterans, General Population Lining Up

First the standard disclaimer, there is NO good news about unemployment except perhaps that it has disappeared (don't hold your breath). That said, the recent front page missive from the L.A. Times "U.S. veterans making gains on jobs front" by Alan Zarembo was interesting on a number of fronts.

Maybe even a little bit hopeful, too.

The gist of Zarembo's article is that unemployment among post-Sept. 2011 servicemen and women - categorized as Gulf War Era II veterans - had shot down to 7.4%. Balanced against the 7.2% that non-veterans were experiencing, (considered "not statistically different"), that seemed to indicate that the barriers preventing our recent servicemen and women from finding employment were starting to fall and that, in fact, veterans appeared to be getting hired faster than non-vets.Male veterans ages 25-34 were at a lower unemployment rate than non-veterans of the same age.

About time, right? JVSWorks has consulted numerous staff and clients from our JVS Veterans First Program about the difficulties that returning servicemen face as they try to reenter the civilian labor market. Well, since 2010, when veteran unemployment spiked to an unsightly 13%, the unemployment rate has plummeted and risen like some freaky EKG chart with sharp declines as we turned the calendar on 2012 and then again at the beginning of 2013.

Now the caveats. There is no indication that this trend will continue. Younger veterans, ages 18 to 24, are still experiencing particularly high levels of unemployment and the situation of women veterans is of particular concern.

Whatever stories the numbers tell, there is no let-up to the numbers and unique needs of the clients who meet with our Veterans First caseworkers. JVS also recently learned that we have been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Swords to Plowshares Foundation to target the needs of female veterans. A special edition of the trade magazine Working World

dedicated to veterans will feature JVS Veterans First and is due to hit the stands in September. Watch for it!

So the fight continues.

We'll leave you with a couple of very telling nugget from Zarembo's article:

"Elevated rates of joblessness among recent veterans have been widely blamed on a failure of civilian employers to recognize the value of military training and experience. With fewer than 1% of Americans having served over the last decade, the military in some sense has been cut off from much of society."

Amen.

Same article: this from Rand economist Paul Heaton...

"The research seems to suggest that over the long term, serving in the military is beneficial. People who have been in the military tend to be better employed and earn more."