U.S. Vets Unemployment Data and What it Means to Delaware

Bradley Fighting Vehicle
Bradley Fighting Vehicle

Generally speaking, looking at monthly unemployment data for Delaware veterans is a chancy proposition and we tend not to do that because the sample space is so small and the data reacts dramatically to modest changes in numbers.

Even so, the recently released monthly report from Syracuse University, Institute for Veterans and Military Families is worth considering; no man is an island and no state is either.

IVMF_Employment-Situation-for-January-2015 This report shows an uptick in veteran’s unemployment with Gulf War Era II making up the largest number of unemployed veterans. Click on the hyperlink to see the entire report .

Source: Delaware Workforce Investment Board
Source: Delaware Workforce Investment Board

This data tracks fairly well with data for Delaware at the end of 2014 (see figure 2), which also showed Gulf War Era II veterans making up the largest share of Delaware’s unemployed veterans.

And while not exactly the same, there are some striking similarities. For example, the unemployment rate for all veterans nationally is 5.3 and in Delaware was about 6 percent. Gulf War ERA I was the lowest in both tables: 3.9 nationally and 2.5 for Delaware at the end of 2014. Again this group, which covers veterans from Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, is much lower than the Gulf War Era II veterans, which are predominantly post 9-11 service members. Gulf War Era II was 7.9 for the nation and 8 percent for the First State.

We consider the age group 16 to 24 to be somewhat analogous to the Gulf War Era II veterans – not exact, but analogous. In Delaware that similar age group had an unemployment rate of 15.1 percent for males and 11.6 for females.

That aside, the question is of course, why is the number so apparently stubborn for Gulf War Era II veterans? Is there a lack of education for employers? Is there a constant influx of separating service members now that our wartime footing is ending? Do Gulf War Era II veterans present employers with an enigma?

It is probably some combination of those things and more.

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