Military jobs hard-hit

Jeremy Hobson: To the monthly jobs report from the Labor Department, which comes out in about a half an hour. It's considered the most important economic indicator of the month in the U.S. And I'm told by the BBC's business staff that it's right up there on this side of the pond as well.

We already know that a lot of layoffs were announced last month, and as Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports, many of those newly jobless worked in the military.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Uncle Sam has decided he doesn't want almost 50,000 soldiers, thanks to across-the-board government cost-cutting and the winding down of two wars. The soldiers losing their jobs are mostly young.

John Challenger is CEO of employment consultants Challenger, Gray and Christmas. He says the young veterans will be jumping into a crowded pool of job applicants. The unemployment rate among 20- to 24-year-olds is over 14 percent.

John Challenger: They're going to already face a lot of competition because of the high unemployment rates. Now it's going to get just exacerbated.

Plus, Challenger says, soldiers have specialized skills and jargon that don't always translate into the private sector. And soldiers who joined the Army right out of high school may not even know how to write a resume.

But they'll have time to learn. Linda Barrington heads Cornell's Institute for Compensation Studies. She says the Army will spread the layoffs out over five years.

Linda Barrington: While these numbers are big, the workers that are being downsized are not going to be cut all in a single month or even a single year. So that's going to help.

Especially because Challenger, Gray and Christmas expects more layoffs from the military, and across the federal government.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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