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Veteran unemployment improving, but unequally

Kimberly Adams Nov 11, 2015
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Unemployment rates for veterans have improved since last year, and they remain better than overall unemployment. The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show unemployment for veterans is nearly a full percentage point better than non-veterans the same age.

But some groups of vets are having better luck finding jobs than others.

According to the Labor Department, younger veterans don’t do as well. Those from the post 9-11 wars have a higher unemployment rate than the general population —  4.6 percent compared to, 3.5 percent for veterans of the first Gulf War.

Peter Gudmundsson, the CEO of RecruitMilitary, said younger veterans may not have have the same training and resources as older vets.

“They usually don’t have as much social capital — meaning they don’t know as many people in terms of executing a networking plan,” he said. “They’re not quite sure where they fit or what they should be doing.”

However, Gudmundsson said younger vets still have better employment odds than other workers in the same age group.

But, according to the numbers from the Labor Department, younger female veterans struggle a bit more. Genevieve Chase, who served two tours in Afghanistan and started the non-profit American Women Veterans, has some guesses as to why 7.2 percent of female vets from recent wars are unemployed.

“With woman veterans, we are more likely to be single or unmarried and to also be single parent veterans. So that also lends to some of the difficulties I think for people who are transitioning out of the military,” she said. “There’s a certain amount of alienation from leaving that military family and having to re-establish oneself with, often-times, children.”

Chase said job opportunities are improving, even though she’s currently out of work.

“Even with all of the resources I have, I have struggled,” she said. “So I know that it’s real. It’s not all roses.” Even so, she remains optimistic.

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