Vets Returning Home to Unfriendly Job Market

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Short on Workplace Skills, Those Who Served in Military Since September 2001 Face Unemployment Rate of 11.8%, By EMMELINE ZHAO

Veterans returning from overseas are encountering a particularly hostile job market these days.

While the 8.4% unemployment rate for veterans overall is lower than the 9.5% rate for the population as a whole, the jobless rate for veterans who served since September 2001 rose to 11.8% in July, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s up from 11.5% the month before.

The unemployment rate among post-2001 veterans remains high because most are younger, lack workplace training and experience, and are in a period of flux as they transition from the armed forces, said Nathan Smith, deputy director of Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit that helps veterans find work.

Matthew Litton served nine years in the Marine Corps before he left the military last May. The 28-year-old from Alexandria, Va., took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and later did two combat tours there.

Mr. Litton said he was treated for a traumatic brain injury, a back injury and has post traumatic stress disorder. Since he left the Marine Corps, he has applied for a long list of positions with private contractors as a security specialist, instructor or trainer close to home. But he has received offers only for positions that would involve working overseas again, he said.

“I got out to pursue other careers,” he said. “I don’t want to be deployed anymore, I did that for nine years, and that’s the only positions people want veterans for