Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs [VA] released a report finding that “recently discharged veterans are having a harder time finding civilian jobs and are more likely to earn lower wages for years due partly to employer concerns about their mental health and overall skills.”
New statistics appear to support the VAs finding. According to the Labor Department and military officials, the jobless rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has hit 11.2 percent, an increase of 4 percentage points from last year and “ significantly higher than the corresponding 8.8 percent rate for non-veterans in the same age group.”
The poor job market for veterans has led to an increase in re-enlistment. “Obviously the economy plays a big role in people’s decisions, ”says Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, an Army spokesman. Many veterans also end up joining the ranks of the homeless upon returning from the battlefield as most have no specialized job experience, education or an easy familiarity with civilian life. And many have post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], making it difficult to get along with friends and family, and almost impossible to hold down a job.” While there are as many as 200,000 homeless veterans in the U.S., somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Source: The Progress Report, March 20, 2009