Keeping Stable Employment is Difficult for Military Spouses

By: Daniel Steingold | May 27, 2016

Being a spouse of someone in the military entails tremendous costs. Recent statistics show that military spouses face an 18 percent unemployment rate, which can be juxtaposed against a 4.4 percent rate for a similar demographic of young married women who do not have spouses serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

To make matters worse, more than half of military spouses who are employed face a tremendous level of underemployment, decreasing their chances of earning salaries commensurate with their education and experience levels sixfold. In some cases, salaries can be as low as a tenth of what they would be otherwise.

Why is this the case? Oftentimes, military spouses are subject to frequent changes of location, and many areas in which they are stationed temporarily are remote and have few employment opportunities in general.

In addition, because of frequent relocations, positions are usually short-lasting, and employers are less willing to commit to military spouses. It is commonplace for military spouses to continually hold jobs for less than a year.

Ultimately, the effect of serving in the Armed Forces upon a spouse’s career has led to a number of people leaving the military. The fallout from all of this is that America becomes a less secure nation.

This phenomenon also affects the economy as a whole, as it is estimated that the 564,000 active-duty military spouses out there cost American society $1 billion a year. This figure includes unemployment benefits, lost income tax, and healthcare benefits that end up being paid for by American citizens.

There are some firms that are trying to pick up the hiring slack, like Starbucks, Walmart, and Salesforce, but it is clear that it will take the efforts of a number of businesses to get to a point where this is no longer such a monumental issue.

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