Following turmoil on world markets partly caused by U.S. economic woes, President Barack Obama on Friday announced new tax credits for businesses that hire U.S. veterans returning home from war in Iraq and Afghanistan to help them find jobs in a shaky economy.
Obama, visiting Washington's Navy Yard, unveiled the $120 million "reverse boot camp" program just hours after a new report showed the nationwide unemployment rate is still over 9 percent and a day after the worst sell-off of U.S. stocks since early 2009.
(GlobalPost reports: U.S. reports job growth amid market fears)
The unemployment rate fell to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in July, though Reuters reports the change was mostly the result of people leaving the work force.
The AP writes that while the situation for jobless Americans is bad, veterans are worse off:
The White House said 1 million military veterans are unemployed. Among those who joined the military after the Sept. 11 attacks, the unemployment rate was 13.3 percent as of June.
Drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq have released thousands of veterans into the already weak U.S. job market, Reuters reports.
Many veterans had struggled to find a job "worthy of their experience and worthy of their talent," Obama said.
"If you can save a life in Afghanistan, you can save a life in an ambulance in Wyoming. If you can oversee millions of dollars of assets in Iraq, you can help a business balance its books here at home," he reportedly said.
He continued: "Over the last few years, another generation of young veterans has learned that the challenges don't end in Kandahar or Baghdad. They continue right here at home."
The proposed "Returning Heroes Tax Credit" — which would require congressional approval — gives $2,400 to companies for each veteran hired who has been unemployed for less than six months and $4,800 for those unemployed for half a year or more, Reuters reports.
the existing "Wounded Warriors Tax Credit" — paid out for hiring wounded veterans — would be doubled to $9,600 for taking on someone unemployed for six months or longer.
The program aims to 100,000 unemployed veterans and their spouses hired or retrained by the end of 2012.
Obama also assured the world Friday that the powerhouse U.S. economy would recover after a tumultuous year, as fears rose that a stagnant recovery could degenerate into another recession.
"What I want the American people and our partners around the world to know is this: we are going to get through this, things will get better," Obama reportedly said.