Despite protection from one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws (USERRA), veterans find their prospects of reemployment dimmer than the rest of the nation’s jobseekers. According to today’s Washington Post, unemployment rates for returning veterans have been higher than the national average since 2005. One obvious cause is the skills the veterans have acquired while serving in an overseas war. Unlike peacetime military service, the veterans spending time in Iraq or Afghanistan have not been honing computer or mechanical skills. They have been patrolling streets, dismantling bombs, protecting shorelines. Employers may worry about their stability when the government is famous for redeploying its troops with little notice, and the news has been full of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder that the Veterans Administration downplays, and hence often fails to treat.
On the bright side, some of the unemployment numbers probably come from veterans attending school after their service, so their availability to the job market is limited.
Economists seem hopeful (not that they all can agree on one thing) that the prospects in 2011 are a little rosier. Somehow the recession seems to be receding, but job creation is either not happening, or it’s happening in other countries.