New Veterans Unemployment Rate Drops Dramatically

New Veterans Unemployment Rate Drops Dramatically

CONTACT: Carlisle Williams (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 New Veterans Unemployment Rate Drops Dramatically

IAVA Strongly Encouraged by April Jobs Numbers and Downward Unemployment Trend, but Highlights More Work Needed to Support New Veterans 

 NEW YORK (May 3, 2013) – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported the unemployment rate for Post-9/11 veterans was 7.5% percent in April, a significant decrease from 9.25 in March.  The 7.5% post-9/11 veterans’ unemployment rate mirrors the national unemployment rate, for the first time in years. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is encouraged by the downward trend, and recognized the efforts of the private sector, including leaders like Cisco, Deloitte Google, JPMorgan Chase, and Wal-Mart, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, the White House, VA, and Joining Forces.  

 “Today’s jobs numbers report is a great development for veterans and those who have fought for years to address the unacceptably high unemployment rate in our community. America increasingly is realizing that veterans are an investment, not a charity,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of IAVA. “This is a team game. The fact that we are trending in the right direction is the result of the leadership of employers, the White House, VA, Joining Forces, Veteran Service Organizations, and most importantly, the fierce determination of skilled veterans themselves.”

 “Yet, we expect the demand for jobs will only increase as more and more new veterans come home. Working alongside the public and private sector, IAVA remains committed to further bringing down new veterans unemployment,” he added.

Reducing post 9/11 veterans unemployment has been a key priority for IAVA.  IAVA has pushed for legislative change such as the enactment of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. IAVA also has organized employment readiness events, including programs with Fullbridge and the New York Stock Exchange, and worked with employers including Bechtel, JPMorgan Chase, MillerCoors, Southwest Airlines, and Tesla Motors to find returning veterans meaningful employment. Next week, IAVA will be co-hosting a series of employment events in California, including with the global investment firm, PIMCO.

IAVA also recently launched  “Career Pathfinder” (http://iava.org/career-pathfinder) an innovative online employment tool funded by Cisco and Futures Inc. The Career Pathfinder website includes thousands of job listings from employers looking to hire veterans, a cutting-edge resume builder, an innovative career mapping tool, a one-of-a-kind military-to-civilian skills translator, and access to IAVA’s best-in-class education and employment programs. This program, combined with IAVA’s caseworkers, is helping veterans looking for employment.

In recognizing the positive jobs report, IAVA also highlighted additional economic factors that exacerbate the increasingly difficult combat-to-civilian transition many veterans face.  Currently, many veterans face lengthy delays to receive disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Almost 900,000 veterans are waiting for a disability benefits claims decision, with veterans waiting an average of 273 days.

The BLS jobs report is a monthly estimate of the nation’s employment situation, and fluctuations in the post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate may be due to the small sample of veterans surveyed in the report.

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