When you consider the deployment… the many days and nights away from your spouse… all the moving around and the relocation issues that come with it… the isolation from family and friends… YES, military spouses certainly have enough to deal with.
Now, take those challenges and place them alongside the many challenges that come with being a parent.
We as parents do the best we can when it comes to raising our children. Of course, there’s a financial responsibility that comes with that, so we need a reliable source of consistent income.
But when it comes to finding gainful employment, military spouses are smacked right in the face with a very sobering truth – their unemployment rate currently stands at a staggering 18%. And it has left many feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.
When 23-year-old Marine Corps Sergeant Amanda Yeram left the military, with a Marine husband and a baby, she was excited to help build her family’s future. Instead, Amanda struggled for five years to find meaningful employment, despite having earned a college degree.
She became depressed and ashamed, feeling like a mother who was failing her son.
As we honor our nation’s military this Memorial Day, consider this: Military spouses face a staggering 18% unemployment rate compared with a national unemployment rate of 4.4% for a similar cohort of young married women. More than half of those military spouses who do work face crippling underemployment: They are six times more likely to earn salaries below their education and experience level. Like Amanda, I personally know this struggle well. As a military spouse, I had years I earned less than a tenth of my previous salary [emphasis added].
But military families aren’t the only people suffering. One of the top reasons that people leave the military today is concern about the effect of military service on their spouse’s career. This puts our ability to sustain an all-voluntary defense force and ultimately our national security at risk [emphasis added].
To better understand the magnitude of this problem for the U.S. economy, Blue Star Families turned to researchers at the Sorenson Social Impact Center at the University of Utah. Together, we set out to understand the economic impact of adverse employment conditions among the country’s approximately 564,000 active-duty military spouses.
The results surprised even those of us who work every day with military communities — $1 billion dollars a year. The estimated cost, which is primarily borne by the federal government, includes estimates of lost income tax, unemployment benefits and government-provided health-care benefits [emphasis added].
Go over to MarketWatch to read the rest of this article on an unfortunate issue.
Original Image Source: Johnny Silvercloud