05/06/2013 02:20 pm ET Updated Jul 06, 2013

VetJobs Veteran Employment Situation Report

At VetJobs we continue to see the overall employment situation as marginally improving and the economy continues to remain basically stagnant, particularly as regards employment. Said another way, the American economy is expanding but at a stagnant decreasing rate.

In spite of the high unemployment of 10,534,000 in the United States, VetJobs is hearing of critical labor shortages in the labor market, most notably in IT (web design/internet security/RDMS/certain programmers), health care and especially trade craft jobs.

The primary reason for the trade's craft shortages are only 2.0 percent of American high schools have shop classes. The result is critical shortages in many areas around the country for plumbers, carpenters, scaffolders, electricians, maintenance technicians, bench technicians and welders. The results of the critical labor shortages are wages are rising rapidly. Today, a certified welder in the oil fields can earn up to $55.00 an hour, frequently with unlimited over time!

In terms of the overall unemployment crisis in the United States, I think Arianna Huffington summed things up quite well on April 17 when she wrote:

"BREAKING! This just in: the economy is terrible and the country is suffering its worst jobs crisis since the Depression... developing... Of course, this isn't actually breaking news, it is aching news -- and before the tragic bombings in Boston, the most important story going on. But you wouldn't have known that if you'd been listening to the media, where the long-term jobs disaster that's been enveloping the country for five years goes virtually unmentioned. Only 88,000 new jobs were produced last month (March). And for the long-term unemployed, the situation is verging on hopeless. It's hard to imagine our jobs disaster will get the attention -- and the solutions -- it deserves if our media doesn't think it's a story worth telling."

Huffington's comments ring very well. Our mainstream media during this administration is avoiding covering what is the most damaging aspect of our economy -- that being exceptionally high unemployment for the American population. Washington needs to revisit their economic policies and move back to a true free market society or the United States will continue to go into debt, unemployment will get worse, and we risk becoming another Argentina post Peron.

Veteran Unemployment Report

The BLS CPS report says there were 21,467,000 veterans alive in April, down from 21,492,000 in March, a loss of 25,000 veterans in March. There were 11,185,000 veterans in the workforce in March, up 71,000 from the 11,011,000 in February. Much of the increase in veterans returning to the market place for jobs can be attributed to older veterans who have run out of retirement savings or their retirement savings are not enough to meet their basic needs.

The CPS overall veteran unemployment rate for all veterans in April fell 0.9% to 6.2% from 7.1% in March. There were 693,000 unemployed veterans in April, down 91,000 from the 784,000 unemployed veterans in March. The unemployment trend for veterans is definitely going down as they continue to find jobs!

However, the largest single group of unemployed veterans is the National Guard, currently estimated at 26% or 100,000. If it were not for the high unemployment rate in the National Guard and Reserve, the unemployment rate for ALL veterans would be about 4.5% instead of 6.2%.

The fact that veterans as a class continue to have an overall unemployment rate that is continuously lower than the national unemployment rate reinforces veterans are still having better success finding employment than non-veterans, provided the veteran is not in the National Guard or Reserve!

Younger Veterans

An area where there has been a veteran unemployment issue over the last six years since the current call up policy was implemented on January 11, 2007 has been in the 18 to 24 year old group and the 25 to 29 year old group which make up a large part of the National Guard and Reserve (NG&R).

The unemployment rate for the 18 to 24 year old veteran in April fell to 17.9% (26,000). That is down from 32.9% (45,000) in March, a decrease of 19,000. This is very good news! There are 64,000 18 to 24 year old veterans not in the labor force who are probably in school or technical training programs.

The unemployment rate for the 25 to 29 year old veterans in April was 4.9% (27,000), down from the March rate of 8.8% (52,000). This is a decrease of 3.9% (25,000). The fact that the 18 to 24 and the 25 to 29 year old veterans unemployment rate continues to fall is fantastic news.

For comparison, the CPS overall unemployment rate for all 18 to 24 year olds (veterans and nonveterans) in April was 14.0% (2,648,000), down from the March rate of 14.8% (2,767,000). In aggregate, young veterans are outperforming their civilian counterparts in finding employment. Much of this can be attributed to the publicity and programs by the administration, veteran service organizations, the US Chamber of Commerce and others!

Again, the overall veteran unemployment rate of 6.2% continues to reflect that veterans as a group are having better success finding jobs than their civilian counterparts, which is not to say some are not having problems.

In spite of the good news, employers continue to shy away from hiring as a new employee an active member of the NG&R due to the constant call-ups which will only increase with the continued reductions of the active duty forces. Employers cannot run their companies when their human capital is taken away for 12 months or more. But if the veteran is totally separated from the military, they are in high demand.

Women Veterans

The unemployment rate for women veterans in April fell to 4.7% (66,000), down 3.3% from the March number of 8.0% (111,000). In comparison, the unemployment rate for all women (veteran and non-veteran) in April was 6.4% (4,613,000).

The unemployment rate for 18 to 24 year old women veterans in April was 3.7% (2,000). This is great news as the young female rate had been high.

In contrast, the unemployment rate for all 18 to 24 women (veteran and non-veteran) in April was 12.8% (1,167,000), up from the March rate of 12.7% (1,130,000).

Gulf War II Veterans

The unemployment rate for Gulf War II era veterans in April was 7.5% (170,000), down 1.7% (37,000) from the March rate of 9.2% (207,000).

Black Veterans

The unemployment rate for Black veterans in April fell to 6.0% (92,000) from the March rate of 6.9% (103,000). This is a decrease of 0.9% (11,000). This is more good news. In contrast, the unemployment rate for all Blacks in March was 12.0% (2,193,000). These numbers again lend credence to the benefits of having joined the military!

Asian Veterans

The unemployment rate for Asian veterans in April rose to 10.4% (23,000) from the March rate of 6.3% (13,000).

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