With the release of the January 2014 unemployment data this week, we see Veteran unemployment numbers have largely held steady with a slight increase in post 9-11 Veteran unemployment. We’ve included some graphs that display Veteran unemployment data since January 2010.
In December 2013, the Veteran unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, rising a fraction to 5.6 percent in January 2014 (see graph at top of page.) The post-9/11 “Gulf War II” era Veteran population (graph below) saw a small rise, from 7.3 to 7.9 percent. While the Gulf War II-era Veteran data is slightly higher than the national average of 6.6 percent, overall Veteran unemployment remains a point lower.
Statistics aside, we know the job hunt can be challenging. Many of us are Veterans who have been out of work at one point or another in our lives. I came to VA last August after nine months of unemployment and a job search that lasted 18 months total. It was difficult and at times quite disheartening, but knowing my family needed me helped keep me motivated. Whether it’s your family or yourself, find that motivation and keep looking for jobs.
VA and its federal and state partners are here to help. First, check out our employment services page. You’ll find information on vocational rehabilitation, and educational and vocational counseling. Or, maybe you want to go back to school, get some training or certifications. Check out our educational services page to see what benefits you are eligible for.
But you’ll find resources beyond VA, too. Every state – Northern Virginia to North Carolina, Missouri to Washington to Texas to show a few – has programs to help Veterans with training and job search. To find your state, do an online search for the “state name + Veteran employment resources.”
Government agencies also focus on the importance of hiring Veterans, including the Departments of State, Labor, and Justice and you’ll find resources for potential employees and employers at the Feds Hire Vets site. And, Veterans can always find assistance at the USAJOBS.gov website.
A variety of Veterans service organizations, non-profits organizations, and other groups also provide employment-related assistance to Veterans. For example, the VFW offers help through its National Veterans Employment Assistance Service; you can find online information at the Military and Veteran Career Center at Military.com; or find a directory of veterans service organizations here.
The bottom line is: Don’t give up.