By Debbie Gregory.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics data regarding Veteran unemployment for December, 2013, shows a huge improvement. The overall unemployment went from 6.7% in November to 5.5% in December. The unemployment rate for Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Veterans dropped as well. The unemployment percentage for GWOT was at 9.9% for November, 2013. For the month of December, 2013, the unemployment rate dropped significantly to 7.3%. These numbers are the lowest that they have been in over five years.
There has been a nation-wide emphasis on making sure that Veterans find employment. The emphasis includes mandates from as high as the office of the president. Programs have been instituted that are designed to help Veterans in all aspects of gaining meaningful employment. Some programs have helped Veterans formulate job-search strategies, generate relevant résumés, and prepare for job interviews. Apparently, the hard work is finally yielding positive results.
But there is still a long way to go in ensuring that Veterans find and maintain meaningful employment. The GWOT unemployment rate of 7.3% is still higher than the national average of 6.4%. It is still unacceptable that today’s able-bodied Veterans have a higher unemployment rate than the general public. Veterans who have served in a time of war and have demonstrated the integrity and professionalism of the world’s most elite fighting force deserve the utmost consideration by American employers.
Optimism could lend some to believe that this is the start of a great reversal in Veteran employment. Perhaps the first few college graduates from the Post-9/11 GI Bill era are finally gaining meaningful employment with their new degrees. Maybe, civilian employers are finally finding the great value in hiring Veterans. Hopefully, that is the case, and the numbers aren’t the result of short-lived holiday-time work. January’s numbers will determine whether these numbers are part of a tangible continuing trend, or just the result of seasonal employment that Veterans were able to find.