Recently-released job statistics showed no changes to the overall high unemployment rate across the nation , but the news was a bit better for the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The rate for America's most recent vets dropped to 9.5 percent in June from 12.7 percent in May, according to Military Times.
Though the jobless rate among Iraq and Afghanistan vets is still a bit higher than the nationwide rate of 8.2 percent, it is indicative of the significant strides being made to put vets back to work. For instance, in June 2011, the unemployment rate among the same group stood at an alarmingly high 13.3 percent.
The new statistics suggest that the many jobs initiatives put forth by a number of states and the Obama administration are doing the trick at lowering veteran joblessness. For instance, earlier this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would be helping support veteran-owned small businesses by buying more goods from such companies. In fact, around 20 percent of procurement dollars went to businesses owned by veterans, according to the publication.
Along with initiatives like that touted by the VA, there have been a number of different pieces of legislation aimed at helping servicemembers and their families get back to work. Most recently, Illinois passed a bill that would make it easier for military families to transfer occupational licenses from state to state, which is especially important given the frequent moves that many soldiers have to make over the course of their service.
"Some find the process so cumbersome and difficult that they give up and decide not to work in their profession," military spouse Courtney Sensening told The Associated Press. "This adds so much hardship to our lives. It's also a loss to our community."
At a more national level, one of the most prominent pieces of legislation to address the issue unemployment among vets is the Vow to Hire Heroes Act, which was passed last fall. The ambitious bill includes a number of initiatives including one aimed at providing training to 100,000 vets in a number of different areas. Additionally, the act makes it mandatory for military members to participate in the Transition Assistance Program and creates tax incentives for companies to hire returning veterans.