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Unemployment Rates for Veterans Rise


The unemployment rates for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars increased in 2011 to 12.1 percent; conversely, unemployment rates for non-veterans went down to 8.7 percent. In 2010, the unemployment rate for veterans of those wars and non-veterans was 11.5 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively. Interestingly, veterans from other wars are more likely to have work: the jobless rate for all veterans fell from 8.7 percent to 8.3 percent. Why have post-9/11 veterans been having such a tough time finding jobs?

Kevin Schmiegel, the vice president of the veterans employment program at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wants to find out. "This is a national security issue," he told Businessweek. "What happens to the all-volunteer force? We're not going to be able to recruit enough people to serve in the military if we don't do something now."

Businessweek reports that the chamber has already held over 100 job fairs across the country and will organize another 400 in the next two years. In addition, President Barack Obama has signed legislation that would grant tax credits to businesses that hire unemployed or disabled veterans. These measures will no doubt be put to good use as drawdowns in Afghanistan continue and as the defense department cuts military ranks by some 123,900 soldiers over the next five years.

What do you think should be done to lower unemployment rates for veterans?

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(Photo credit: DBKing/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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