Unemployment numbers still high among East Texas veterans after pandemic

Workforce Solutions Deep East Texas encourages any veteran interested in getting help to stop by their offices in Nacogdoches and Lufkin.
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 6:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 24, 2023 at 7:03 PM CDT
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ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - July 25 marks National Hire a Veteran Day, a day dedicated to helping veterans find jobs. For veterans, finding a job can be difficult.

“It was kind of hard initially to stay on task,” said Army Veteran Patrick Smith of Lufkin.

Smith served in the army for nearly ten years and said he struggled to transition back to a “normal life.”

“Some of the difficulty is finding a civilian occupation where you can use what you did in the military in the civilian world,” said Smith.

Phil Huber is Angelina County’s veterans’ service officer, and he said many veterans are still dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic.

“It’s all over the United States right now. Things are just not recovering from COVID like we thought they ought to,” said Huber.

Workforce Solutions East Texas Director of Community Affairs Stephen Lynch said employers would benefit from hiring veterans.

“They’re leaving from one environment to the civilian side, and that is a big adjustment.”

Lynch said skills veterans have, such as self-discipline and the ability to work in teams, would be beneficial to employers.

“All of those factors come into play when they’re looking for employees, and veterans meet the mold very well.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the veteran unemployment rate is 2.7% as of June. Among veterans with a disability, that number is 4.9%.

Lynch also said veterans have opportunities to look for work before they are discharged, which helps the unemployment rate stay low, “and many can interview virtually, so that cuts down on the wait time.”

Workforce Solutions East Texas encourages any veteran interested in getting help to stop by their offices in Tyler and Longview. Workforce Solutions Deep East Texas offices are located in Nacogdoches and Lufkin.