September 23, 2021

High Unemployment for Veterans

“Veterans face an even tougher time in today’s labor market than others, Alana Semuels of the L.A. Times reported July 11. The unemployment rate for veterans nationwide was 13.3% in June, compared to the 9.2% unemployment rate for all workers. The figure for veterans jumped more than a percentage point in June, up from 12.1% in May.

High Unemployment for Veterans

More than 1,000 veterans attended the Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Culver City, California on July 10, where Prince William and Catherine stopped as part of their tour of California, with few actial jobs being offered. With troop levels winding down in Afghanistan and Iraq, unemployment figures for veterans could go even higher, according to Kevin Schmiegel, an employee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who helped organize the fair.

“”You’re going to see the number grow,”" said Schmiegel. “”That’s why it’s so important to proactively address the issue before it becomes a larger problem.”"

There were about 200,000 more veterans in the labor pool this year than compared to last year, but employers only added 18,000 jobs in June. In California, the labor market is even tighter than the rest of the country with an unemployment rate of 11.7% in May. That is over two and a half points higher than the rest of the country.

At the job fair in Culver City, according to Semuels, employers like Sony, Target and Amazon featured booths, but not many were accepting applications. They handed out keychains, pens and candy but directed most veterans inquiring about positions to their company website.

Even veterans with advanced degrees have found it tough in this economic environment. Charlene Emfinger, a former electrician in the Navy, recently received her bachelor’s degree from Cal State Northridge. She initially planned to find an entry level management position but is willing to settle for an administrative assistant position. She initially thought that her experience and degree would help land her a well-paid job, but now she and her husband, also a veteran, are falling behind in their payments.

“”At first I was optimistic.”" said Emfinger. “”But now I’m just really frustrated. It doesn’t make any sense.”"”

LA Times

Jobs outlook darkens for veterans in June – Army Times

Stimulus, RIP: Did the stimulus bill fail? – Slate Magazine

Fed Data Cruncher Finds Jobless Problem Fixable – Bloomberg

Small businesses won’t provide new jobs: survey – Reuters

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