News Release

How Education and Healthcare Create More Jobs Than Military Spending


HEIDI PELTIER, hrpeltier at
Peltier is a research fellow at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research focuses on the employment impacts of public and private investments.

She said today: “Amid this government shut down and as teachers are striking in Los Angeles and President Trump has touted the importance of military spending, it’s important to keep an eye on what different forms of spending actually do, including how many jobs they create.”

Peltier’s papers include “Job Opportunity Cost of War,” which states: “Increased military spending is often seen as a politically favorable strategy, since the military industrial complex is spread throughout many parts of the United States, and many Congresspeople want to earmark or protect spending for their constituents. Moreover, war spending is generally thought of as a way to increase employment — to create jobs not only in the military itself but also in the industries that supply goods and services to the military, for instance the manufacturers who produce weapons and uniforms….

“Education and healthcare create more than twice as many jobs as defense for the same level of spending, while clean energy and infrastructure create over 40 percent more jobs. In fact, over the past 16 years, by spending money on war rather than in these other areas of the domestic economy, the U.S. lost the opportunity to create between one million and three million additional jobs. …

“Each $1 million of spending on defense creates 5.8 jobs directly in defense industries and 1.1 jobs in the supply chain, for a total of 6.9 jobs per $1 million of federal defense spending. … Education creates up to nearly three times as many jobs as defense spending, particularly for elementary and secondary education. The employment multipliers for these domestic programs are 14.3 for healthcare, 19.2 for primary and secondary education, and 11.2 for higher education; the average figure for education is 15.2 jobs per $1 million spending.”