Efforts help thin ranks of unemployed vets

The unemployment rate for recent veterans is on the decline, a sign that public and private efforts to hire the men and women who have served their country are paying dividends.

For the first time in more than 10 years, it appears veterans are entering the workforce at a faster rate than non-veterans.

Veterans’ advocates credit businesses large and small with living up to their pledges to hire veterans leaving military service after multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Federal tax incentives and policies that make it easier for veterans to obtain licenses for professional jobs they are qualified to perform also seem to be helping thin the ranks of the unemployed vets.

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent for veterans, which is statistically in line with the 7.2 percent for nonveterans. The numbers are even better for female veterans, who have a 7.1 percent unemployment rate.

By comparison, the jobless rate for veterans in 2011 was 12.1 percent, compared to 8.7 percent for non veterans.

The trends are encouraging, but unemployment levels are still too high for veterans and non-veterans alike. The economy is on the mend, but family-wage jobs remain out of reach for far too many Americans.