Military members saluting.

Veterans make great employees because, by-and-large, they are goal-oriented, used to working in stressful situations and possess strong work ethics.

Is your small business hiring? Consider hiring a veteran? Sure, you may have heard that the veteran unemployment rate mirrors the current national trend of low unemployment. That’s the good news.

The bad news, however, is labor statistics don’t always pull back the curtain all the way to reveal the full picture. And that picture isn’t entirely rosy. The relatively low employment rates of veterans does not mean that a significant percentage of the 20 million veterans are not at-risk.

In fact, this Marketplace report from last year reveals more of the real picture….

Veterans who are unemployed and not looking for work are not counted as unemployed by the Department of Labor. These veterans are not counted towards the unemployment rate. Therefore, the Pollyanna jobs report is misleading. Veteran employment rate in the labor force is actually much lower than the general population.

Despite having a better general unemployment rate than non-veterans (2.9% for the former; 3.5% for the latter), the veteran employment rate is less than 50% in the labor market, in comparison with 63 percent for the general population.

This means that there are more than 10 million veterans currently not working or actively looking for work. While it’s true that some of these veterans are not counted as part of the labor force because of retirement or disability, there are many veterans who, because of underemployment, have completely given up on looking for work.

Why Hiring a Veteran Makes Sense

Because of the hyper-structured organization of the military, veterans by and large are goal-oriented and used to working in stressful situations. Not to mention that veterans have good work ethics, are responsible, and may have had training in technology. (Learning a new point of sale system should be a breeze for a vet.)

You can also save money by hiring a veteran. Although this may be construed as a selfish reason to hire someone who served your country, there’s nothing wrong with a win-win situation.

In fact, there are a couple ways to save. According to Small Biz Trends, the The U.S. Government’s Special Employer Incentives (SEI) program enables employers to hire a qualified veteran trainee at an apprenticeship wage. Employers are also reimbursed for up to half each veteran’s salary to cover certain supplies and equipment, additional instruction expenses and any loss in production.

Furthermore, hiring a veteran, may offer tax incentives, such as The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) or the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, to name a couple programs.

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