On your way home from work, you pass by a man standing on the side of the road. He is holding a sign that says, homeless veteran. You quickly roll up your window and pass by as if you didn’t even see him. One huge problem that is facing our nation is unemployment. A vast majority of the unemployed are veterans. I think that it is imperative that this problem is rectified. A veteran gets the call to defend our freedom, and when that call is answered and the soldier returns home, it is then our turn to protect him or her. Let’s take a look at some statistical data to back up my argument.
The rate of unemployment for veterans has been a problem facing our nation for quite some time. I found a statistical break down of percentages of unemployment rates for veterans. The numbers are very shocking. The unemployment rate for veterans far exceeds the national average. About 12.1 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are unemployed. This compares to 9.1 percent of Americans nationwide, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate for veterans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four was a shocking twenty-seven percent. Non-military adults in this age group were at a rate of 17.4 percent. Those numbers are alarming, and something needs to be done to help fight against this and unemployment in general. Unemployment is high, but why is it so much higher for veterans?
One study showed, between 2002 and 2004, the number of veterans claiming unemployment for ex-service members (UCX) increased by about seventy-five percent, raising concerns that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having difficulty transitioning to the civilian labor market. This report draws on data from the Department of Labor and the individual military services to examine the reasons for the increase in the UCX caseload. These include the intensive use of the reserve components in the Global War on Terror, which has led to large numbers of reserve personnel becoming eligible to claim UCX; longer deployments, which are linked to poorer health and increased UCX claim rates; and significant numbers of reserve personnel choosing not to return to their pre-activation jobs. Loughran and Klerman discuss these issues and their implications for the UCX program. The Unemployment Compensation for ex-service members (UCX) program provides income assistance to unemployed veterans as they search for work. There are many other reasons that the unemployment rate is higher for veterans, but this one appears to be the biggest.
Post traumatic stress disorder is another factor that can lead to unemployment in veterans. Traumatizing experiences are almost a given when you are placed in a combat zone in a war torn country. What would go through your mind if you had to pull a close friend out of a blown up Hum-V? After you get him out, you look, and his legs are gone. How would you feel if you pulled a trigger of a weapon and ended someone’s life? These situations are very traumatizing to a soldier, so I think post traumatic stress disorder is another huge reason for the higher unemployment rates facing veterans. I could dive into this subject, but that would be a whole other article. There is a bill in place that will hopefully make rid of this problem.
I recently read an article entitled, White House, GOP Advocate Jobs Relief forVeterans. President Obama stated, “It was an American responsibility to improve the dismal job landscape facing veterans when they return from duty.” I think it’s about time that someone has stepped up and took a crack at this problem. There are soldiers that come home from war, fighting to protect our freedoms, and then turn to drugs and alcohol because they can’t find a job, so they don’t have a way to put a roof over their heads. The bill that President Obama is looking at basically gives companies a tax break for hiring veterans. This is a very appealing thing to everyone, especially small businesses. Hopefully this will shine a little light of hope. I certainly hope that our government will pass this bill and help fight the war on unemployment.
I think the unemployment rate is outrageous. Hopefully, after reading this article you to will go to bat for a veteran, so when you are driving home tonight and you see that person standing on the side of the road holding a sign, saying homeless veteran, I hope you will at least see that person a little differently.