Jobless Rate for Gulf Vets Edges Down

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Grand Rapids, Michigan - Military veterans look for work at a job fair at the Army Reserve Center.
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Unemployment among veterans of the second Gulf War conflict is edging downwards, but still stands at a problematic rate of 9 percent. The numbers released Thursday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics were based on a monthly survey that gives some insight into how the 2.8 million men and women who saw active duty since 2001 are faring in the job market back home.

The unemployment rate among these latest war veterans dropped from 9.9 percent in 2012 to 9 percent in 2013, the study shows. The jobless rate for all active-duty veterans also dropped, from 7 percent in 2012 to 6.6 percent last year.

The nation's overall unemployment rate stood at 7.5 percent in 2013.

Location was important in finding a job. The unemployment rate for all veterans was under 4 percent in Delaware, Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont and Virginia, but it topped 10 percent in Michigan and New Jersey.

What kind of jobs are our veterans finding? GI Jobs, a website devoted to connecting veterans with military-friendly employers, asked some of the leading corporations that work with them. In 2014, veterans were in demand as information technology professionals, plant supervisors, engineers, logistics specialists, customer service representatives and technicians. (See the top jobs for veterans from GI Jobs.)

The crisis of unemployment among veterans -- particularly the youngest veterans, those who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- has led to some legislation aimed to encourage employers to hire them. They include a tax credit of up to $9,600 for a business that hires a veteran.

The organization IAVI, or Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America, offers employment events and other services to veterans of the Gulf conflicts. HireHeroesUSA has resume services and other help for veterans.

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