The Seesaw Effect – Tracking Veteran Employment Statistics | DCR Workforce Blog

The Seesaw Effect – Tracking Veteran Employment Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released employment numbers for November 2016 which show that the national unemployment fell to 4.6% from 4.9%; but unfortunately veteran unemployment has increased from 4.3% to 4.8%! This is a rare occurrence, as national veteran unemployment usually lags the national civilian unemployment rate, and it shows a seesaw effect.

On the other hand, most economists believe that unemployment numbers below 5% are just an indication of normal churn caused by people moving between jobs. In other words, it’s just natural unemployment.

Let us look deeper at the veteran employment statistics to understand if the situation is in need of any serious intervention.

  • According to the BLS, there were 20,782,000 veterans in the United States in November, down 26,000 from the 20,808,000 veterans in October.
  • Of these 10,493,000 (50.5%) veterans were in the workforce in November, down by 185,000 from the 10,678,000 veterans in the workforce in October.
  • In other words, 10,289,000 veterans are sitting on the sidelines and not in the workforce in November, up by 159,000 from 10,130,000 in October.
  • Approximately, 499,000 (4.8%) veterans were unemployed in November, up 39,000 from the 460,000 (4.3%) veterans who were unemployed in October.
  • Conscientious civilian employers are still keen to hire veterans, whose numbers have been steadily dwindling in recent years, but still need focused efforts to keep the veteran unemployment numbers down.
  • Veterans in the older age brackets are found to have higher employment numbers than the younger veterans.

The following table looks at veteran employment numbers, such as age and ethnic backgrounds, and throws light on the fact that veteran unemployment rightly trends lower than the general unemployment levels, except for the veterans in the age bracket of 18-24 years.

veteran recruitingVeteran employment

The fact that the American economy is not generating the 200,000 to 250,000 new jobs a month it needs in order to assimilate new entrants to the workforce, is hampering the strengthening of the job market. In fact, 2016 has averaged just 180,000 new jobs a month compared to the 229,000 per month in 2015, leaving the labor force participation rate static at about 62.7%.

Employment is an important issue for a returning veteran, and some of them may need to find guidance on how to find jobs, make smart career decisions and fit themselves into the civilian workforce by finding employers who are committed to hiring veterans.

Every veteran is trained to focus entirely on accomplishing the mission, taking responsibility, co-operating in a team situation while being offered the highest opportunity for personal development. Employers and staffing suppliers will need to visualize how these specific military skills will translate to the role requirements of the openings they have. Though job selection is found to vary with the veteran’s era of service as well as gender, it has been found that women veterans have historically preferred roles in healthcare, while veterans in general are primarily found in technology-based or mathematical roles.

It’s clear from the statistics that younger veterans are facing typically higher unemployment levels compared to the older and more skilled veterans. But even these would prove ideal for roles which have a period of internship during which the worker is groomed into taking over the job responsibilities. Employers stand to benefit from hiring veterans, and enjoying the critical skills and attributes which are a hallmark of their service in the armed forces.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.