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Vets' unemployment rate inches up in September

Oct. 22, 2013 - 12:02PM   |  
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The upward trend in unemployment for post-9/11 veterans continued in September, with the jobless rate climbing to 10.1 percent — the second straight month of double-digit unemployment for the group.

The news for veterans of all generations also was lukewarm in September: the overall vets’ unemployment rate was 6.5 percent, up from a yearly low in August of 6.2 percent, according to the Labor Department employment report released Tuesday.

The nationwide unemployment rate, at 7.2 percent, remained stagnant, down less than one-tenth of one percent from August. The number of new jobs rose by 148,000, stemming largely from increases in construction, trade, transportation and warehousing, according to the report, released late this month as a result of the government shutdown.

In June, the jobless rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans hit its lowest since 2008, at 7.2 percent — a statistic many attributed to aggressive efforts by the White House, corporations and non-profits to encourage employers to hire young workers with military-learned skills.

But the return to a double-digit jobless rate continues a trend established in the past three years of higher year-end unemployment for these veterans.

On Tuesday, a private-sector coalition of 121 companies led by JPMorgan Chase and others announced that it had hired 92,869 veterans through the third quarter, less than 7,000 jobs shy of its “100,000 Jobs Mission.”

Maureen Casey, JPMorgan Chase’s military and veterans affairs director said the goal is to hire and train former service members for long-term success.

“By working together and sharing best practices, the companies are deepening the level of understanding of the challenges veterans face when they enter the civilian workforce," Casey said. “This has been critical in helping veterans understand their own skills and businesses understand the tremendous value military-experienced employees bring to their companies.”

Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said Tuesday that the government must focus on achieving a faster pace of job growth by “increasing certainty and investing in jobs” — a goal he said was hampered by “self-inflicted wounds of the past several weeks that increased uncertainty and inhibited job growth.”

He also set the stage for blaming the congressional-led shutdown for poor results next month.

“Today’s delayed report describes the economy more than a month ago. More recent indicators suggest the labor market worsened in the month of October,” he said.

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