Only a few months ago Spark News was writing articles on how tough the job market was for veterans. They were coming back from Iraq only to find that the job market was in a terrible slump and the economy was just as bad. In an effort to put returning vets back to work as soon as possible, Obama made large efforts to reward the companies that hired veterans with tax credits. Unfortunately, as more veterans return from the Middle East there will have to be more jobs made available to them and many are skeptical as to whether the job market can keep up with them.
With the extended efforts by the government and companies, the unemployment rate of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has dropped drastically since last year. Only a few months ago, the unemployment rate for veterans was at 12.5 percent. Today, that rate has gone down significantly to 7.6 percent. This current unemployment rate is even less that the national average which has stood at 8.3 percent for the past two months.
However, as more troops return from the Middle East and defense budget cuts increase, there will be more veterans entering the job market and looking for work. If there aren’t a significant amount jobs available for these returning soldiers, then it’s likely that the unemployment rate for veterans will increase to higher levels once again. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta was quoted saying, “it’s very important that we [help] give [veterans] the ability to find a job, education [or] start a business.”
While Panetta states that government programs have really helped in lowering the unemployment rate for these veterans and getting them hired, there needs to also be an effort from the private-sector as well. However, Panetta is aware of how much effort the private-sector has already put in for the cause. He was quoted saying, “I have to commend the private sector, because they really have put together [a] public campaign to raise awareness of veteran employment and create hiring incentives for vets.”
As the job market slowly improves, the chances of recent returning vets finding a job is probably a bit better than the chances of them finding a job just months ago. However, much like what we say about the job market, even though there have been improvements there is still much work that needs to be done. Returning troops will put quite a strain on the job market, so hopefully we are doing everything we can to prepare and continue to improve our job market.