Small decrease in unemployed male veterans. Dramatic decrease in unemployed female veterans. Why?
Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the numbers of unemployed veterans in the United States between 2012 and 2013, and although there was an overall decrease in the number of unemployed male and female veterans across the board, what was surprising was the minor decrease for male veterans versus the dramatic decrease for female veterans.
Veteran unemployment rate for men 2012 vs. 2013
6.8% vs. 5.9% for a decrease of .9%
Veteran unemployment for women 2012 vs. 2013
9.1% vs. 2.8% for a decrease of 6.3%, (the statistics are relative, so it doesn’t matter that only 15% of veterans are women.)
The rate of unemployment for veterans (male and female) is higher than the general public and for young veterans between the ages of 18-24 it has been reported as high as 25%. This means that a veteran, who served their country, put their life on the line, and has life experience up the wazoo, would have a better chance of getting a job had they never served their country. Furthermore, the Vow to Hire Heroes Act, a two year old federal program that offers tax breaks to businesses that hire veterans expired at the end of 2013, and has failed to be renewed. Additionally, food stamps that would help to feed over 500,000 veterans and their families have been cut by congress.
Many things could be the possible culprit for such high unemployment in veterans. Perhaps it could be the fact that 25% of veterans returning from the war tend to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); however, this wouldn’t explain the dramatic decrease in female veteran unemployment versus male, considering that the Veterans Administration reports that female veterans have greater instances of PTSD.
Or perhaps it could be that the qualifications that many veterans earn while in the military do not transfer over into civilian life. Case in point: a friend I served with in Iraq was an operating room technician for six years in the military. She worked on surgeries that not even the best civilian hospitals in the country have most likely ever seen, or could likely handle. Yet, at her new civilian job she is making two dollars less than someone who received their certification from a technical school, who has state certification, and who has only been doing the job for two years—my friend has worked at the hospital longer than this person as well, and was told by her boss that if she had the certification she would have more than a two dollar raise. I won’t dive into all the specifics with my friend’s certification and why it is harder than it sounds, but it just sheds light on another possible issue that could be contributing to the high unemployment rates of our veterans.
The only thing that’s clear here is that there is something seriously wrong when the men and women who fight for our country have a harder time getting a job than those who haven’t. And whatever the issue is, female veterans are doing well for themselves, and we need to find out what’s going on and replicate it for all veterans.
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