The job outlook for veterans has brightened, according to new federal data. The national unemployment rate for veterans fell to 7 percent last year from 8.3 percent in 2011. Analysts credit the improving economy and a campaign from the public and private sectors to hire people leaving the military.
The jobless rate for veterans is nearly 1 percentage point below the overall U.S. average. But female veterans and those under 35 still face higher unemployment rates than their civilian counterparts. And some former members of the military not in those demographic categories also are encountering trouble finding work.
Robert Beck retired in 2010 as a senior chief petty officer after 26 years in the Navy. He landed with a contractor in Greece. But he’s been jobless since the contract ran out last summer.
“If you’re not networking and you don’t have a job lined up before you get out of the Navy, you’re like a guppy in a pool of sharks,” said Beck, 47, of Virginia Beach. “It comes down to who you know.”
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The lack of networking opportunities hampers younger veterans, Cline said. “The higher you go, the more networking you accomplish.”