Vets unemployment higher than non-vets, study says
Veterans of America's post-Sept. 11 wars have a higher unemployment rate than the general population, a problem that has persisted since the depths of the recession, according to a congressional report released today.
The unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans is 10.9 percent, compared to 8.5 percent unemployment overall. Among all veterans the unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, according to the report. Nearly 2.5 million people left the armed forces since September 2001, according to the report.
"We've got a lot more work to do to make sure people can find work today, tomorrow and in the future," said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Scranton. Casey, who spoke today at Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania`s workforce development center in Lawrenceville, is chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, a bicameral committee charged with studying the economy, which issued the report. "We can, and I have no doubt we will."
Higher-than-average numbers of post-9/11 veterans were employed in industries that were especially hard-hit by the recession, according to the report. Those include mining, construction and manufacturing, among other fields.
Federal, state and local guidelines giving hiring preference to veterans bolstered their employment numbers. About 30 percent of recent veterans work in the public sector, compared to 14.8 percent of nonveterans, the report found.
But that might not last. Budget cuts "and a slowdown in hiring by state and local governments could adversely affect veterans' employment in the future," according to the report.
"Cutting or eliminating essential programs for veterans in the name of deficit reduction would be a disservice to men and women who have made great sacrifices in defense of our country, and a disservice to the nation," the report stated.
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would have veterans take part in the Department of Labor's Transition Assistance Program, designed to help them translate skills learned in the military into civilian jobs. The same bill, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, would start a government study of which civilian jobs most closely match those in the military.
As post-9/11 veterans entered the VA health care system in greater numbers, study of their conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, had a ripple effect through the rest of the veteran population. Detection and treatment of the disorder improved, resulting in a three-fold increase in the number of Vietnam-era veterans diagnosed with PTSD between 1999 and 2010, according to the report.
Combined with their age, Vietnam-era veterans' disabilities pushed them out of the workforce in greater numbers than nonveteran counterparts, the report found.
It "may be a harbinger of future labor force problems for recent veterans," the report said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.