Huffpost Impact

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kevin O'Brien Headshot

The True Unemployment Rate for Veterans Is 7.4 Percent

Posted: Updated:

Due to the nature of my business, I have several Google alerts set up that keep me up to speed on job fairs, and overall employment opportunities for veterans. I can say that each day, there are at least 12 alerts I receive on the topic of the current condition of veteran unemployment, and various topics on helping them search for work.

I often write about the various services and programs available to aide veterans and military spouses in their search for employment, but a common theme we often hear is that there just aren't any jobs available, or employers don't want to hire veterans. I thought I would spend this week's post proving that simply isn't the case. There is no doubt that it is tough out there for many American's who are looking for work and that also includes veterans, but many would be surprised to know that the unemployment rate for veterans overall is almost a full percentage lower than the national average of 8.2 percent according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics

The unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is clearly much higher than the national average and currently sits at 9.5 percent, but what rarely gets mentioned when evaluating that number is, how many are using their GI bill to go back to college, how many simply want to take a break after serving in harm's way? There is no shortage of programs and organizations doing great things to help veterans find work, and the truth is, many are finding work with great employers, and it is time we helped boost morale and spend a little time showcasing the various programs and services that are available. Constant reporting on the doom and gloom is doing much more than creating awarenss in my opinion, and often results in people not even making the effort to put themself out there because of how bad they perceive it to be from what they read or see in the media.


A few examples of outstanding programs that are leading from the front in helping veteran's secure gainful employment include:

White House Joining Forces Initiative

More than 90,000 veterans hired by the 1,600 organizations who are supporting this cause, and they have committed to hiring at least 170,000

Hero 2 Hired

A Department of Defense Yellow Ribbon program that allows employers to post all their jobs at no cost. H2H is the lead sponsor in several Milicruit virtual career fairs, and also co-sponsors some of the U.S. Chamber Hiring Our Heroes career fairs


More than 10,000 veterans hired by the employers who utilize Milicruit to recruit veterans and their spouses in the virtual career fairs. In just the last four months, over 6,000 hired as part of the 10,000 Jobs Challenge Monthly virtual career fairs are hosted by Milicruit each month, and the next one is scheduled for July 31st.

Hiring Our Heroes

The U.S. Chamber launched the Hiring Our Heroes program a little more than a year ago, and recently reported their 10,000th hire. The Chamber will host 400 career fairs across the country this year, and have coordinated efforts to help at least 500,000 veterans and military spouses find employment through the end of 2014

100,000 Jobs Mission

A coalition of more than 50 industry leading employers led by JP Morgan Chase with a goal of hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020. This program has resulted in more than 18,000 hires in just over a year.

So while there is much work that still needs to be done, it is equally important to stop and tell both sides of the story. Many veterans who need work are finding it very hard, but there are also many who have been able to secure well paying, highly rewarding careers with industry leading organizations.

These organizations and employers are not reaching out to the veteran community because they feel obligated to do so, but rather because they recognize and value the skills and talent the men and women who have served the country bring to the table.