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A recently posted YouTube video had your PolitiFact Georgia scribes worried about our men and women in uniform.
It showed U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany objecting to parts of a bill setting the budget for the U.S. Department of Defense. He said it weakened labor laws that protect veterans and other workers from discrimination.
Such changes would hit veterans hard. They’re already struggling to find work.
"There are close to 900,000 unemployed veterans in America right now," the Democrat said in the video posted July 23.
Is that correct? We contacted Bishop’s office for more information.
While the video was posted recently, the speech was made in December. Bishop’s motion to change the bill failed.
Bishop’s press secretary, Maxwell Gigle, backed up the claim by sending us news releases from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs and the congressman’s office.
Two cited the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal government’s official keeper of labor data, as the source of their numbers.
Each month, the agency conducts what’s called the Current Population Survey. This survey collects data on employment, earnings, work hours, demographics and related issues from about 60,000 households across the nation.
The survey includes questions designed to track the employment status of veterans, which it defines as men and women who previously served on active duty in the U.S. military and were civilians when the survey was conducted.
In 2011, an average of about 11.3 million veterans were in the workforce, according to the yearly report. Some 945,000 of them were out of work.
Veterans of the wars waged after the 9/11 attacks had the hardest time. About 12.1 percent of them were unemployed last year. By contrast, unemployment among all veterans averaged at about 8.3 percent.
The number of unemployed veterans has since dropped to 806,000, according to the BLS’ June 2012 figures. That’s 7.4 percent of the veteran workforce.
When Bishop made his speech, the latest data available was from November, when 832,000 veterans were unemployed.
Veterans are faring better than U.S. workers as a whole. In June, the unemployment rate for all workers stood at 8.2 percent, according to the BLS.
In conclusion, Bishop said in his speech before Congress that there were "close to 900,000 unemployed veterans in America right now." This number is a bit lower than the yearly average and higher than the latest unemployment figures available at the time.
His statement rates a True on the Truth-O-Meter.
YouTube.com, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop site, "Rep. Sanford Bishop Floor Statement Regarding Civil Rights Protections for Veterans," posted July 23, 2012
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment Situation of Veterans Summary," March 20, 2012
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment Situation of Veterans Summary Table A. Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population 18 years and over by veteran status, period of service, and sex, 2010-2011 annual averages," March 20, 2012
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment status of the civilian population 18 years and over by veteran status, period of service, and sex, not seasonally adjusted," July 6, 2012
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Data Retrieval: Labor Force Statistics (CPS)," accessed Aug. 1, 2012
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop website, news release, "Bishop Offers Motion to Maintain Protections For Veterans and Health Care Workers," Dec 14, 2011
US. Department of Defense, news release, "Program Offers Paid Training for Unemployed Veterans," May 15, 2012
U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, "VOW To Hire Heroes Act of 2011," accessed July 31, 2012
Thomas.gov, Bill Summary & Status, 112th Congress (2011 - 2012), H.R.1540, All Congressional Actions with Amendments, accessed July 21, 2012
Email interview, Maxwell Gigle, press secretary, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, July 31, 2012
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