March 10, 2011 As the state Department of Labor touted small gains on the unemployment front Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer called attention to the high rate of joblessness among veterans. "One critical element of the population has largely been left in the dust, and that is our nation's veterans," Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a conference call on Wednesday. According to numbers from the senator's office, there are 50,000 unemployed veterans living in upstate New York, many of whom struggle to find jobs. Locally, there are an estimated 4,220 unemployed veterans in the North Country and another 7,650 in the Capital Region. To promote job sites for veterans, Schumer is sending letters to chambers of commerce and business groups across the state, encouraging them to make local businesses aware.
The jobless rate among veterans ages 18 to 24 is 21 percent -- about 50 percent higher than unemployment for non-veterans of the same age and more than double the statewide average in January. Schumer said part of the problem for recently returned veterans seeking work is that their lives have been disrupted, and they may not be hearing about job leads after being disconnected from friends and family. He added that veterans come back with a strong set of skills, and employers should not be reluctant to hire them for fear of post-traumatic stress disorder or other war-related medical issues. "Our veterans possess many desirable and marketable skills -- the capacity to lead, a strong sense of integrity and an unparalleled ability to work under pressure," Schumer said during the conference call. "And yet, when they return home from service, far too many struggle to find good-paying jobs." For more information on the employment situation of veterans, visit the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. ---