ENHANCING OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR NATION’S MILITARY FAMILIES: Today, President Trump issued an executive order to enhance opportunities for military spouses looking for employment in the Federal Government.

  • President Trump has issued an executive order “on Enhancing Noncompetitive Civil Service Appointments of Military Spouses.” The order:
    • requires Federal agencies to promote the use of noncompetitive hiring authority that currently exists for military spouses to the greatest extent possible;
    • directs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to educate agencies regarding the use of the noncompetitive hiring authority, and to increase awareness of the opportunities it creates among military spouses;
    • requires all agencies to report annually on their progress in advertising positions to, obtaining applications from, and hiring military spouses; and
    • directs agencies to recommend new ways to improve license portability and remove barriers to the employment of military spouses.
  • The purpose of the President’s order is to provide significantly greater opportunity for military spouses to be considered for Federal competitive service positions.
    • While the order promotes the use of noncompetitive hiring authority for military spouses, it does not require the hiring of a military spouse for an open position over other applicants.
    • Ensures that military spouses receive the consideration they deserve for government positions; at the same time, no preference-eligible veteran will be displaced or lose his or her preference or a job to which he or she was entitled as a result of this order.
  • In addition to the order, President Trump has issued a separate proclamation declaring May 11, 2018, as Military Spouse Day.

UNDEREMPLOYED AND UNDER STRESS: While our men and women in uniform serve our country on base or abroad, their spouses face many challenges to build families at home.

  • There are nearly 690,000 spouses of active duty service members, 12 percent of whom are also active duty military.
  • The military spouse unemployment rate has averaged between 20 percent and 25 percent over the past decade.
    • In 2017, the military spouse unemployment rate stood at 16 percent according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, over 4 times the 2017 rate for all adult women.
  • According to one estimate, in 2016, only 57 percent of military spouses participated in the labor force, compared to 76 percent of the population at large.
  • The higher unemployment rate persists notwithstanding a military spouse population with a higher level of education than the population at large.
  • Only 5 percent of military spouses rated themselves as financially well off, versus 50 percent who said they were comfortable, 38 percent who said they were living paycheck to paycheck, and 6 percent who were struggling financially.
  • 80 percent of military spouses who are actively searching for work have cited the job search process as a source of stress between them and their spouses in the military.
    • 47 percent of military spouses have described finding work or managing their careers as a source of stress.

OVER REGULATION AND RELOCATION: Beyond the stress of having to move frequently due to military deployments, military spouses have to deal with job searches hampered by state regulation that prevents their occupational licenses from easily transferring.

  • Patchwork state regulation of occupational licensing poses a significant challenge to military spouses, who regularly move so their spouses can continue to serve their country.
    • 22 percent of military spouses cited one of their greatest challenges their inability to transfer professional licenses from one state to another.
    • In 2016, over 30 percent of military spouses required a government license to do their jobs, versus 22 percent of all workers.
  • 77 percent of military spouses said that having two incomes is important to their family’s well-being, but only 50 percent of military families with children have two working parents.
  • 90 percent of military spouses moved at least 50 miles due to their spouse’s military career, and over 50 percent moved at least 3 times.
    • Military spouses are 7 times more likely than civilian spouses to move across state lines.
    • Two-thirds have had to quit or change jobs as a result of a move.
    • A little over one-fourth took 1 to 3 months to find a new job, 29 percent took 4 to 6 months, and 12 percent took 7 to 12 months.