Unemployment Hits Veterans Harder than Most

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Unemployment remains high across the country. But one sector of society has been hit harder than most -- America's military veterans.

Last year, the jobless rate for veterans who have served since 2001 was 11.5 percent, more than two percent higher than for non-veterans, currently at 9.4 percent.

Males between the ages of 18 and 24 were especially hit hard with an unemployment rate at 21.9 percent.

In May 2011, veteran unemployment was 12.1 percent, compared to 9.1 percent for non-veterans. In the same period, unemployment among all U.S. workers fell from 9.6 percent to 9.1 percent.

Yet when 33,000 troops return home by next summer from Afghanistan, the rate may go even higher for veterans.

President Obama recently expressed his concern over the high unemployment among military veterans.

"This is something that I've been talking a lot about internally," he explained. "We've got all these young people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, have made incredible sacrifices, have taken on incredible responsibilities."

"You see some 23-year-old who's leading a platoon in hugely dangerous circumstances, making decisions, operating complex technologies. These are folks who can perform," he said.

"But unfortunately, what we're seeing is that a lot of these young veterans have a higher unemployment rate than people who didn't serve. And that makes no sense," Obama said.

The president said his administration is looking at possibly combing tax credits for companies that hire vets while encouraging private companies to "step up" and hire more veterans.

"The notion that these guys who are sacrificing for our freedom and our security end up coming home and not being able to find a job I think is unacceptable," he added.

Kevin Schmiegel, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce discussed why he thinks the unemployment rate is higher for veterans than other Americans, the ways companies can become more aware of veterans skills, and the steps the government can take to help more veterans find jobs, on CBN News Channel Morning News, July 8.

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