Mil Spouse Unemployment Has Economic Impact Of Nearly $1 Billion

Family & Relationships
AP Photo/The Augusta Chronicle, Jackie Ricciardi

The military advocacy group Blue Star Families recently released a report that shows military spouse unemployment could be costing the economy nearly $1 billion dollars each year.


The study, called “Social Cost Analysis of the Unemployment and Underemployment of Military Spouses,” found that adverse military spouse employment conditions represent a social cost ranging from approximately $710 million to $1.07 billion annually.

The data, which was collected by the Sorenson Impact Center, showed that military spouses experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment and lower labor force participation rates than their civilian peers.

The numbers are disheartening. Right now, there are approximately 564,000 female military spouses nationwide, and unemployment rates among them sit at 18.8%.

Further, around 25% of civilian spouses don’t participate in the labor force, compared to 43% of military spouses.

"The math is shocking, but it also shows the way forward,” Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO and Founder of Blue Star Families, said in a statement. “If we work together to reverse the crippling employment trends facing military spouses, we will add money back to our economy.”

Related: Mil Spouses: Convert Your Job Into A Teleworking Role »

Blue Star Families called on public and private sector leaders to address unemployment among military spouses the same way they tackled joblessness among veterans in recent years.

“We are confident that the country can tackle this challenge in the same way we came together to reduce veteran unemployment several years ago,” Roth-Douquet added. “To ensure military households have a fair shot at achieving economic security, we need the involvement of all Americans.” 

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DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.

Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"

Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House prior to departure that he planned to meet the families, a duty which he said "might be the toughest thing I have to do as president."

He was greeted by military staff at Dover Air Force Base after a short flight from Joint Base Andrews, but did not speak to reporters before entering his motorcade.

Flanked by military officials, Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan filed up a ramp leading onto a military transport aircraft, where a prayer was given to honor the memory of Scott Wirtz, a civilian Department of Defense employee from St. Louis.

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Trump filed down the plank and saluted while six service members clad in fatigues and white gloves carried an American flag-draped casket carrying Wirtz to a waiting gray van.

The Dover base is a traditional hub for returning the remains of American troops abroad.

The United States believes the attack that killed the Americans was the work of Islamic State militants.

Trump announced last month that he planned to speedily withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but has since said it does not need to go quickly as he tries to ensure safety of Kurdish allies in northern Syria who are at risk of attack from neighboring Turkey.

Trump told reporters on Saturday that his Syria policy has made progress but that some work remained in destroying Islamic State targets. He defended his plans for a withdrawal.

"It's moving along very well, but when I took over it was a total mess. But you do have to ask yourself, we're killing ISIS for Russia, for Iran, for Syria, for Iraq, for a lot of other places. At some point you want to bring our people back home," he said.

In addition to Wirtz, those who died during the Wednesday attack in Manbij, Syria, were Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent, 35, identified as being from upstate New York, the Department of Defense said in a statement.

The Pentagon did not identify the fourth person killed, a contractor working for a private company. U.S. media identified her as Ghadir Taher, a 27-year-old employee of defense contractor Valiant Integrated Services.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Writing by Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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