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Jefferson vets land jobs, as Schumer pushes programs


WASHINGTON — By just about any measure, Jefferson County has been among New York’s leaders in joblessness.

But not, it turns out, for veterans. The county’s unemployment rate of 5.8 percent for veterans is one of the lowest in the state and nearly three full percentage points lower than its overall unemployment rate of 8.6 percent in September, the state Labor Department reports.

Veterans’ relative good fortune in Jefferson County — the rate is 10.4 percent in Oswego County and 8 percent in St. Lawrence, for instance — comes as the Senate today considers a bill to extend tax breaks to companies that hire out-of-work veterans. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., touted the measure in a conference call with New York reporters Wednesday.

Tax breaks would encourage companies to hire some of the 19,736 unemployed veterans in Upstate New York, including 1,367 in seven north country counties, Mr. Schumer said.

He said veterans make hard workers, but they have faced challenges in returning to the labor force as they adjust to life outside the military.

The legislation would give companies a $2,400 tax credit for each worker who was searching for a job for between four weeks and six months; the credit grows to $5,600 for a veteran looking for work for at least six months and is $9,600 for a veteran with a service-disconnected disability looking for work for six months or more.

The measure also makes a career counseling and resume-writing program called the Transition Assistance Program mandatory for service members.

That program is available at Fort Drum as well as online, Mr. Schumer said.

Unemployment rates for veterans vary widely across the state, from a low of 3 percent in Warren County to a high of 11.8 percent in Clinton County, Mr. Schumer’s office reported.

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