WASHINGTON -- Post-9/11 military veterans are finding and keeping jobs in larger numbers, according to 2012 veteran employment data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In a statement, acting Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris said the new numbers are "promising signs."
"But it also makes clear that we must continue to use every tool available to honor their sacrifice by helping veterans find opportunities to succeed in good middle-class jobs," he said.
The report shows a significant decline in the unemployment rate for veterans overall, from 8.3% in 2011 to 7% in 2012. Post-9/11 veterans saw a decline to 9.9% in 2012 from 12.1% in 2011. Other categories also saw improvements.
"Recent broad-based gains in the overall economy have helped to drive down these rates as we continue adding jobs at a steady pace," Harris said, "but support services that address the unique challenges faced by veterans are essential to improving upon today's positive report."
Harris credited the "Joining Forces" initiative, championed by first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, with contributing to the upward trend. He noted their efforts are "securing commitments from thousands of private employers who recognize that veterans bring unique skills and leadership to their workplaces, and for a lift to their bottom lines."
The Labor Department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service is the lead government agency dedicated to veterans' employment, Harris said, adding that it serves hundreds of thousands of veterans and transitioning service members each year.
"In addition, programs like 'My Next Move for Veterans,' the transition assistance programs and the Veterans Gold Card provide enhanced employment services to veterans and transitioning service members and give targeted support in education and training that will help us reduce the unnecessarily high unemployment rates among younger veterans and female veterans," he said.
The acting labor secretary reemphasized that while the latest statistics are encouraging, more work lies ahead.
"While this morning's report shows that we are moving in the right direction on reducing unemployment among America's veterans," he said, "much more needs to be done to ensure that no veteran struggles to find work after serving honorably to keep us safe and secure."
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