The U.S. economy is in bad shape, but it’s no longer in the tailspin it was a year ago. To give a concrete example, here’s just one positive indicator: The unemployment rate for most Veterans was lower in December 2010 than it was in December 2009. In fact, the unemployment rate for one group of Veterans—those who served during the first Gulf War era—dropped a full percentage point last year, from 6.4 percent down to 5.4 percent. Of course, this is good news.
But as IAVA noted on Friday, those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t having as much luck in the improving economy.
For America’s most recent Vets, the numbers aren’t good. In December 2009, the unemployment rate for OEF- and OIF-era Vets was 7.9 percent. Unfortunately, as we learned last week, by December 2010, it had ballooned to 11.7 percent. By contrast, in December 2009, OEF/OIF Vets were doing better than the general, non-Veteran population. Now, they’re doing significantly worse—and headed in the wrong direction.
At VA, we’re aware of the situation and working closely with the Department of Labor to mitigate the situation. But we want to know what you think: What more can we do, and what more should we be doing? Also, why do you think unemployment today is such an issue for Iraq and Afghanistan Vets as compared to Vets of other generations?
View the latest Veteran-related figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.