This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
Barack Obama recently declared victory in Afghanistan – sort of – and announced plans to bring the last combat troops home in 2014. As the war winds down, our commitment to the troops who served shouldn’t wind down with it.
The unemployment rate among the country’s youngest veterans – the ones who volunteered after 9/11 – is intolerably high. The best current numbers, from 2011, were released in March by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Here are the low points:
• Last year, 12.1 percent of all “post-9/11” vets were out of work last year – nearly half again the country’s overall unemployment rate of roughly 8 percent.
• Among black post-9/11 vets, unemployment ran 14.3 percent. Among Hispanics, 17 percent.
• The numbers are far worse for male veterans under the age of 24. Their jobless rate was a staggering three out of every ten – 70 percent higher than their nonveteran peers.
• A total of 234,000 post-9/11 vets want jobs and can’t find them. This army of unemployed patriots is much larger than the forces the United States deployed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
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