Bringing the Economy Home

How Today’s Wal-Mart Announcement Could Affect Idaho Veterans

Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images

Idaho Veterans have new job opportunities with the retail giant Wal-Mart. Today, the company announced plans to hire any veteran in need of a job.

Nearly 7,000 Idahoans work for Wal-Mart, making the low-price superstore Idaho’s second largest private employer, right behind St. Luke’s. There are 22 Wal-Mart stores in Idaho.

Here’s what The New York Times wrote about the announcement:

Company officials said they believe the program, which will officially begin on Memorial Day — May 27 this year — will lead to the hiring of more than 100,000 people in the next five years, the length of the commitment. 

“Let’s be clear: Hiring a veteran can be one of the best decisions any of us can make,” Mr. Simon will say in his keynote speech to the National Retail Federation, according to prepared text. “These are leaders with discipline, training and a passion for service.” – The New York Times

According to Wal-Mart’s website, the average wage for one of the company’s full-time Idaho employees is $12.21. The average hourly wage in Idaho is higher, at $14.51.

David Brasuell, administrator of the Division of Idaho Veteran Services, says the Wal-Mart announcement is great news for veterans. “We see it as a great start to start tackle some of the employment issues veterans have,” says Brasuell.

The jobless rate for veterans nationally was slightly below 10 percent in 2012 according to The New York Times. That’s a drop from 12.1 percent in 2011. In Idaho, the most recent jobless rate available is 10.3 percent in 2010. The unemployment rate for non-veterans ranged between 8.5 and 8.9 percent in 2010.  Brasuell says there are at least 138,000 veterans in Idaho.

As StateImpact reported in 2011, some veterans have a difficult time explaining how their military experience can translate into a private-sector job.  Brasuell affirms that. “They have skills you don’t see in the everyday populous,” he says.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced an updated incentive program, urging employers to hire veterans, during his State of the State speech earlier this month.


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