The collective narrative on veteran’s unemployment totally misses the mark. The real issue is veteran’s employment, not unemployment.
The 2010 Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor published veterans employment data for 2010 in March of this year: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/vet.nr0.htm. On the whole, veterans enjoy better employment than their non-serving counterparts (8.7% versus 9.4%). Yes, the statistics for Gulf War II Era veterans show a slightly higher unemployment percentage (11.5%), but the BLS report points out in numerous instances that the disparity is not statistically relevant.
Even if the two (2) point differential was relevant, the disparity is easily explained:
1) Transitioning veterans have a great alternative with the new G.I. Bill, and hundreds of thousands use it. Nothing precludes a service member in transition from registering for unemployment AND receiving G.I. Bill benefits; In the fall of 2010, 260,000 veterans enrolled with the G.I. Bill: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=61337
2) There is an explainable timing issue for service-members in transition as well. If serving overseas, there are primary considerations upon separation, such as where to live and what to do with their household goods. Additionally, whereas most civilians that knew a change were about to occur would do things like revise their resume, update their linkedin profile, connect with their networks, etc., folks currently serving simply can’t begin that process while deployed;
3) For many, they will have banked much of their pay while deployed, and upon returning, wish to first re-connect with family and friends and de-compress before pursuing a job.
The real story is the strong demand by Corporate America to hire veterans right now. This desire might be motivated by patriotism or a sense of doing “the right thing”, but primarily the hiring of veterans is being done because it is smart business; corporations need what veterans bring to the workforce: 1) character; 2) specific skills; 3) diversity; and 4) security clearances.
RecruitMilitary works with thousands of companies that are utilizing our mechanisms to connect with veterans every day. I am sure there are legitimate anecdotal cases where deserving veterans are truly struggling, but as a whole, veterans in the job market don’t need pity – they will do exceedingly well, as will their employers for hiring them.