Of the 8,674,000 Americans that were unemployed as of May 2015, approximately 507,000 of them served in the nation’s armed forces to defend the country, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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While the national unemployment increased from 5.4% to 5.5%, the veterans’ unemployment rate is only 4.7%. Unlike the national unemployment rate, the veteran unemployment rate appears to be decreasing.
Race appears to play a role in unemployment rates for both veterans and non-veterans.
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In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed
African Americans as having the highest unemployment rate amongst both veterans and non-veterans. Overall, black non-veterans had the highest unemployment rate of 11.3%. Whites and Asians had the lowest unemployment rates among veterans and non-veterans.
Gender too may play a role in unemployment rates. Amongst veterans up to the Vietnam Era, females had a higher unemployment rate than men. However, female veterans in the more recent era have a lower unemployment rate than men.
Gender may play less of a role in nonveteran unemployment rates, as both percentages are roughly equal with men having a .3% higher rate.
Reasons for high national unemployment rates is traditionally linked to a lack of new employment opportunities and economic growth, outsourcing jobs to less developed countries, and high business taxes, reports the International Business Times.
And while all Americans may be affected by these reasons, veterans face extra employment burdens.
“There’s stigma attached to PTSD and traumatic brain injury and other hidden disabilities that people may assume soldiers have when they’re leaving the military,” Nancy B. Adams, U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command Branch Chief told Fortune in 2013.
Such stereotypes can hinder veterans’ abilities to be hired as employers fear hiring mentally unstable employees. Another stereotype is that veterans are less likely to take initiative because they are used to following orders. Joe McFarland, ex-Marine and Western Division Home Depot president disagrees. He says that in the armed forces, “you’re put in a lot of different situations intentionally through different types of training that help you to think on your feet, that prepare you for the unexpected,” reported Fortune.
Employers looking for long-term employees also worry that veterans may be deployed again, causing them to go through the hiring process a second time.
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