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Despite low jobless figures some vets are left behind

Pittsburgh Veterans Job Fair
Keith Srakocic
Associated Press
In this Thursday, March 7, 2019, photo a sign points to the Pittsburgh veterans job fair at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Unemployment rates among veterans ticked up slightly in April to 3%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But that’s still part of an overall decline in recent months. Lindsay Livingston with Veterans Village of San Diego says some vets are left behind.

“Even though the numbers may look one way, we’re still seeing veterans come to us with a lot of the same struggles,” she said.

Livingston says finding work in that first year after a person leaves the military is particularly difficult.


“A lot of times, our veterans do struggle,” she said. “Especially if they went straight into the service out of high school. They may not have actually done a job interview before.”

The entire job seeking process may have changed since they entered the military. They need help building resumes, because employers don’t always understand how military duties translate into civilian job skills, Livingston said.

“If a veteran came right out of the military and served for a number of years,” she said. “(Then) when they get out, often they can feel behind their peers in terms of a career in the civilian world.”

They also move around a lot, so they may not have built much of a network, either where they were last stationed or back home, she said.

Veteran unemployment had dipped all the way to 2.4% in March. At 3%, it’s still below the national average of 3.6%. Some veterans groups question the figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The group Call of Duty, which tries to help veterans find jobs, published a report which says the government figures don't reflect under employment in the veteran community. The national numbers also rely on veterans to self-report their veteran status, among other concerns.