To truly honor our veterans, we have to invest in programs that provide support in a difficult labor market. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis' Nov. 10 piece ("Honor them - hire them") correctly notes the troubling joblessness problem veterans face. Nearly 1 in 10 North Carolina veterans were unemployed in 2010.
Many of these veterans are receiving critical support through unemployment insurance. While it will be important to encourage hiring of veterans, for most unemployed the reality is that there aren't enough jobs available to match the demand for work in North Carolina. While we work to close the jobs deficit, unemployment benefits remain essential in supporting veterans and their families. These benefits help families meet the most basic needs and continue their search for work while also providing a foundation for job creation through continued consumer spending.
The challenge is that federal support for emergency unemployment benefits will expire at the end of December. Nearly 70,000 North Carolinians will lose this support. We should recommit to supporting veterans' integration back into civilian life and extend unemployment benefits.
Alexandra Forter Sirota
The writer is director of the N.C. Budget & Tax Center.