Unemployment Rises for Afghanistan and Iraq Era Veterans

March 21, 2012

The unemployment rate for U.S. veterans who’ve served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan increased last year, while the rate for non-veterans declined, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

The jobless rate for veterans who were in service following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was 12.1 percent last year, up from 11.5 percent in 2010, the department’s data show. Among all non- veterans, 8.7 percent were jobless last year, down from 9.4 percent in 2010.

“This is a national security issue,” Kevin Schmiegel, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s veterans employment program, said in an interview. “What happens to the all-volunteer force? We’re not going to be able to recruit enough people to serve in the military if we don’t do something now.”

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