Photo: Stars and Stripes
Yesterday’s positive jobs report hid a slice of bad news for America’s military veterans. The number of Iraq and Afghanistan vets out of work increased in October even as unemployment decreased one-tenth of a point for the rest of the country.The 80,000 new jobs and the drop in the unemployment rate from 9.1 to 9 per cent did nothing to help post-9/11 veterans as unemployment in their ranks swelled from 11.7 to 12.1 per cent.
Jim Borbely with the Bureau of labour Statistics told Stars and Stripes that’s about 5,000 more unemployed veterans in October than September.
The White House says the report “provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough.”
These numbers are part of the reason Democrats proposed tax incentives along with the new veterans jobs bill making its way through the Senate. The bill would provide tax breaks for companies hiring veterans along with training for each vet leaving the military.
A major component of the bill would offer tax credits to companies hiring jobless veterans — up to $2,400 in credits for hiring veterans out of work for more than 4 weeks, up to $5,600 for hiring veterans out of work for more than six months, and up to $9,600 credit for employing veterans with service-connected disabilities looking for work for more than six months.
The bill would also make mandatory jobs skills training for every service member moving into civilian life and also offer older veterans additional Montgomery GI benefits for training programs at community colleges and technical schools.
Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) told reporters “It is quite frankly shameful that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have a higher unemployment rate than the rest of America.”
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