The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed some encouraging statistics on Friday, reporting that the nationwide unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September. The good news also applied to post-9/11 veterans, whose unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent, considerably lower than the 10.9 percent in August, according to Military Times.
Soldiers who left the service after September 11, 2001, have often struggled to find jobs in the weakened economy. However, the White House and Congress have made improving the transition process a priority and have helped create employment programs over the last year.
Still, though pieces of legislation like the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which created tax incentives for companies to give veterans jobs, have been successful, some say there is more the Department of Defense can do to help servicemembers find employment opportunities once they leave the Armed Forces. Specifically, experts say it should be easier for veterans to get state licensing for jobs that can benefit from the skills they learned while serving in the military.
"It's no secret that a large percentage of America’s veterans are struggling to find work, having faced jobless rates as much as two-thirds higher than in the comparable civilian population in the past year," James Koutz, the national commander of the American Legion, told the House and Senate Veterans' Committee, according to the Times. "We cannot let up."
Although the unemployment results should be taken with a grain of salt because of the small sample size, the findings continue a months-long downward trend that is encouraging for veteran advocates across the country.
There have undoubtedly been some successes in helping troops get back to work, but one of the most recent efforts to be proposed in Congress was met with a swift defeat. The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, would have created jobs for an estimated 20,000 troops, was shot down by Senate Republicans due to questions over how it would be paid for, The New York Times reports.
Veterans looking for assistance with the job hunt can visit AFBA's Career Center, which helps pair employers and recruiters with qualified servicemembers.