Econintersect: WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that joblessness among young veterans ages 18-24 was 1 in 3 for the last quarter of 2011, up from 1 in 5 in the last quarter of 2010. The overall unemployment rate for young veterans in December 2011 rose to 13.1 percent. As reported in USA Today: “One out of three veterans ages 18 to 24 were without work the last quarter of 2011, double the rate of civilian peers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One in five young veterans were without work in the last quarter of 2010.”
“Those who made the decision to serve our nation and to defend the freedoms of all Americans are selfless individuals who, along with their families, have made sacrifices for a cause greater than themselves. The fact that unemployment is disproportionately high for young veterans should be a cause of concern for every American,” said Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor, and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). “When young veterans – highly trained and tested professionals with a proven ability to learn quickly, operate on a team, and produce results – are unable to find real opportunities in the job market, it speaks to the poor state of our economy. The root of the problem clearly does not rest with the American veteran – the issue is the faltering economy and leadership in Washington that is committed to higher regulations and job killing taxes that inhibit ingenuity and business expansion, limiting opportunities for all Americans.”
Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc./WomanTrend (April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4% margin of error) and select highlighted results for all young Americans ages 18-29 appear below:
Millennials and National Security:
- Greatest threats to national security: National Debt (62%), Energy Dependency (61%) and Indebtedness to Foreign Powers (50%).
- 80% view China as a danger: economic threat (48%), both economic and military threat (28%) and military alone (4%).
- 70% (net) would increase production of domestic energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal, while only 22% (net) would decrease production.
Dissatisfaction with Current Level of Employment and President Obama’s Handling of Unemployment:
- 43% are not satisfied with their current level of employment.
- Just 31% of 18 – 29 year olds approve of the President Obama’s handling of youth unemployment.
Delayed Dreams Resulting from a Poor Economy:
- 77% of young people ages 18-29 either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors:
- 44% delay buying a home;
- 28% delay saving for retirement;
- 27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;
- 27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;
- 26% delay changing jobs/cities;
- 23% delay starting a family;
- 18% delay getting married.
Leaders In Washington, D.C. Fail to Reflect Interests of Young Americans:
- 69% say the current leadership in Washington fails to reflect the interests of the younger generation.
- Only 36% believe there is the right leadership in Washington.
- 61% indicated that a candidate’s positions on issues and record in office will be more important than charisma and likeability when they cast their vote for President in 2012.
Government Spending and Economic Opportunity:
- 76% of overall Millennials would favor a decrease over an increase in federal spending from its current level if given the chance to set America’s fiscal priorities.
- 69% prefer reducing federal spending over raising taxes on individuals in order to balance the federal budget.
- 59% of overall Millennials agree the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.
- 53% of overall Millennials agree if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire.
Reliving the Past
Unemployed veterans is not a new problem, but also occurred during The Great Depression. Below is a photo of a veterans’ encampment in Washington,DC in July of 1932.
The gathering of 43,000 was made to appeal for payment of World War I bonuses authorized in 1924 but not payable until 1945. Of the total, 17,000 were veterans, mostly left unemployed by The Great Depression, and the remainder were family members. Here is part of a summary from Wikipedia:
Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time, visited their camp to back the effort and encourage them. On July 28, U.S. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the veterans removed from all government property. Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two veterans were wounded and later died. President Herbert Hoover then ordered the army to clear the veterans’ campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned.
A second, smaller Bonus March in 1933 at the start of the Roosevelt Administration was defused with promises instead of military action. In 1936, Congress overrode President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s veto to pay the veterans their bonus years early.
Below is a picture of police battling bonus marchers in 1932.