While there has been some improvement for the average American in looking for employment, veterans have not seen those same gains. In fact, the veteran unemployment rate stayed about the same as it did in 2012. Both years, veterans saw a 9% unemployment, 1.7% higher than the national unemployment rate.
Despite downward trends in unemployment across the country, veterans who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars still have difficulty finding work, according to government jobs data issued Thursday.
About one in 11 of them — 9% — were jobless in 2013, lower but not statistically different than the 2012 rate for this group, according to the report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Within that generation, veterans who actually deployed to either or both wars had the highest jobless rates of 10% or more, according to a snapshot of unemployment for one month, August, 2013.
Analysts sayfinding work is toughest on those who served on the front lines: infantry.
“Unfortunately, they are the ones doing most of the fighting and they have the highest unemployment rates,” said Tim Isacco, chief operating officer for Orion International, a large veteran recruitment firm.
About 2.8 million Americans have served in uniform since 9/11, and an estimated 200,000 are unemployed, according to government numbers.
Government officials were upbeat, however, about the report issued Thursday. Teresa Gerton, deputy assistant secretary for policy for the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment Training Service, said those former combat troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan represent a small portion of the overall number of veterans in America, whose jobless rate fell to 6.6% in 2013.
Those ages 18-24 had a jobless rate of 21.4% in 2013 compared with 14.3% for their civilian counterparts. But Gerton said many are likely living off the unemployment benefits they can receive for 26 weeks and are simply taking a break while they transition from war.