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Veterans Face New Battle in Private-Sector Job Market
23 Mar 2012 EDT - CNBC.com
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"Trying to find a job out of the service is almost as scary as being in the military," said Osvaldo Rivera, who will leave the U.S. Army at the end of March after 21 years of service. "The competition is fierce."

The 40-year-old Rivera lives with his wife — who is also a veteran — and two small children in the town of Killeen, Texas, which is home to the Fort Hood military base.

"I graduated high school and had one semester of college, and then joined the Army and had jobs I loved," said Rivera, who was once an Army recruiter. "Now, it's just submit a resume and play the waiting game like a lot of vets have to do."

The soon-to-be-ex-master sergeant is just one of millions of veterans looking for work these days in a job market that's struggling for civilians, as well as those coming out of the military.

The current jobless rate for all U.S. veterans — some 21.8 million of them — stands at around 8.3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That mirrors the current overall rate of unemployment in the U.S.

A further breakdown reveals pockets of higher unemployment. The jobless rate for vets who served since the 9/11 attacks stands at 12.01 percent. That’s a decline from the 14.7 percent at the same time in 2011, but still higher than the overall veteran and nonveteran average.

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