"The unemployment rate for returning servicemen is over 18%," Rowe points out. "It's a scandal, and few people write and talk about it." By comparison, the general unemployment rate is currently 9.6%, or roughly half of the veterans' rate.
Rowe's numbers are disturbing, but recent research suggests that, among some segments of the veteran population, the unemployment crisis may be even more dire. For example, for veterans aged 18 to 24, the jobless rate tops 21%, while 16.6% of nonveteran 18- to 24-year-olds are out of work. And the long downturn has made the problem worse: In 2008, for example, 14.4% of 18- to 24-year-old veterans were unemployed.