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The unemployment rate for veterans edged up in July in an economy that grew 162,000 jobs, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The overall national unemployment rate for July was 7.4 percent, slightly down from June’s 7.6 percent rate.
For veterans, the July jobless rate is 6.4 percent all generations and 7.7 percent for Post-9/11-era veterans. In June, the unemployment rate for veterans of all generations was 6.3 percent. For post-9/11 veterans, the June rate was 7.2 percent.
The Labor Department reported Thursday the unemployment rate has fallen in 272 of 372 metropolitan areas, although it remains above 10 percent in 51. The highest unemployment rate was 31 percent, recorded in Yuma, Ariz. The lowest was 2.8 percent, in Bismarck, S.D.
Congress continues to work on legislation to help service members land post-service jobs. On July 24, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed the Veterans’ Employment Opportunities Act that takes several steps to create jobs or help veterans qualify.
For veterans aged 35 to 60 who are unemployed, the bill extends for two years the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program that provided GI Bill benefits for one year of training to learn new, high-demand skills.
The bill, S. 6, also creates two test programs. One is a three-year program to provide subsidies to employers who hire veterans under the age of 35 or between the ages of 55 and 65. The second, also a three-year test, creates internships for veterans who are age 30 or younger with private sector employers to gain work experience.
To create immediate jobs, the bill requires the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department to each spend $125 million providing grants for hiring of veterans as first-responders, such as law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
Work on this legislation will have to wait until fall, as Congress began a five-week summer recess on Thursday.