The Department of Labor Public Affairs Office sends us their press release announcing that veterans’ unemployment decreased last year;
Statement by US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez on veterans’ employment
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today issued the following statement regarding the release of the 2013 Employment Situation of Veterans report (.pdf) by the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:
“Today’s veterans’ employment report for 2013 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an encouraging drop in overall veterans’ unemployment from 7 percent in 2012 to 6.6 percent. It included a significant reduction in 2013 unemployment for women veterans from 8.3 percent in 2012 to 6.9 percent in 2013 and a decrease from 9.9 percent to 9 percent for all Gulf War-era II veterans.
“Our nation’s veterans and their families have made countless sacrifices on behalf of our nation. Who deserves opportunity more than those who have put their lives on the line defending it?
“Veterans have the skills that employers are looking for. They make our nation’s workforce more productive, our companies more profitable and our economy more competitive. Smart businesses recruit veterans because it’s in their self-interest, because they know it’s a sound investment in their bottom line.
“At the Labor Department, we are working hard to help veterans and military service members as they transition to the civilian workforce. We provide priority services for veterans through more than 2,500 American Job Centers across the country. We have also launched an online tool, My Next Move for Veterans, where veterans and transitioning service members can enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. We also announced this past summer a new regulation encouraging companies that do business with the federal government to focus on hiring more veterans.
“This report shows that the private and public sectors are making progress on veterans’ employment. But much more needs to be done. I urge all employers to renew their commitment to veterans, so that those who served and sacrificed can realize their highest dreams. The best way to honor our veterans is to hire them.”
I’ll admit that employers are doing their best, and it’s in their interests to hire veterans, but on the other hand, I’ve heard stories about veterans who didn’t get hired precisely because they were veterans. Some smaller employers are unwilling to subject themselves to the things they read in the media about veterans.
I’ve had employers who doubted military records of potential hires contact me to help them sort through DD214s – which is probably a good stop gap while no real system to check military claims exists. The DOL can do more to help employers. The used to exist an online thing that would put individual soldiers’ actual military experience in civilian terms, but that thing went away after 9/11 because of the potential for abuse. It was based on your job assignments in the Army. I still have a paper copy of mine around here somewhere. It could have been a useful tool for veterans as well as employers.
The government isn’t doing everything they could to help veterans, but it’s good news that unemployment is trending downward.