08/05/2012 12:10 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2012

Vet Jobs July Employment Situation Report

The overall veteran unemployment rate for July is 6.9 percent, down from the June rate of 7.7 percent.

The fact that the veteran overall unemployment rate is lower than the national unemployment rate, and has hit a three-year low, continues to indicate that as a class they are still having better success finding employment than non-veterans.

The unemployment rate for the 18 to 24 year old veterans fell in July to 19.9 percent from 23.3 percent in June (53,000 unemployed). This is a decrease of 4,000. A substantial number of the unemployed 18 to 24 year olds are in the National Guard and Reserve.

The overall unemployment rate for all 18 to 24 year olds (veterans and nonveterans) in July was 15.5 percent, down from 16.3 percent in June.

VetJobs anticipates the unemployment rate for the young veterans will increase more as DOD continues to furlough 140,000 active duty troops and more of the National Guard and Reserve brigades start returning from their mustering stations in Kuwait.

There is new complicating factor that will affect younger veterans. Over the next year, the unemployment rate in the Army National Guard and Reserve (NG&R) may go up if a new Army policy is implemented in 2013. USA Today ran an article quoting General Odierno, the Chief Staff Officer of the Army, proposal to go to seven weeks of mandatory Active Duty for Training per year from the current two weeks. I see this as a poison pill for employing members of the NG&R. I understand some of his reasoning, but this move will basically cause employers to not want to hire a member of the NG&R!

More importantly, DOD's credibility among employers is already at an all-time low due to the way the NG&R has been used the last ten years. This move will guarantee that many employers will not only NOT hire active NG&R component members, many employers will start finding ways to get rid of their workforce who are in the NG&R.

Put yourself in the shoes of an employer. Would you hire a person knowing upfront that the individual will be gone for nearly two months every year, AND be subject to a 12 to 24 month call up? I have talked with several employers since the USA Today article was published and each one has told me they would be reluctant to hire an active member of the NG&R with this situation. General Odierno needs to understand that employers cannot run
their businesses with their most critical asset, their employees, being taken away so frequently. This especially affects small to mid-size businesses.

Historically, every time that DOD has downsized, the use of the NG&R has gone up. Currently, the active duty brigades in Germany and South Korea are now being replaced by Army Reserve and Army NG brigades. AFRICOM is quickly becoming an NG&R command. The use of the NG&R is only increasing, not decreasing post AF/Iraq.

The bottom line is this move by General Odierno will mean a higher veteran unemployment rate in the future, particularly in the Army National Guard & Reserve.