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Enlisting spikes with economic fall

October 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
During these uncertain economic times, the military has recruits lining up to enlist.As war in the Middle East continues, more troops are needed.

But for the first time since 1973, when the military became an all-volunteer force, every branch of the armed forces has met its recruiting goal.

"Nowadays everyone is coming to us, asking us about information about joining the army," said Sgt. 1st Class Llorito Todd, an Army recruiter.

So why are so many potential recruits eagerly seeking out the Navy and the Army? Experts say it's simple: the economy.

"As the unemployment rate rises, you know, historically you see more enlistments into the United States Army," said Sgt. Jan Vermeulen, an Army recruiter. "I mean, that's just based on the unemployment."

Veteran Jim Bebee came down to the U.S. Navy recruitment office in Redlands Monday morning with family friend Charles Pine.

Pine wants to join the Navy, but perhaps more importantly, he needs a job.

"I was in college a little bit, and I ended up leaving that and I got out here and I was looking for jobs -- union wise, otherwise -- and there's not really much out here," said Pine.

And there's especially little out there for people Pine's age.

While the national unemployment rate is 9.8 percent, it's 24 percent for 18 and 19 year olds.

For men between 18 and 29, the unemployment rate is 28 percent.

Many say this is why the Navy, the Army and the Air Force are so popular right now.

"If I was young enough, you bet I'd be right back in, because I think the service is one place where you're going to get three meals, a place to sleep and you're going to get paid. What can you do better than that?" said Bebee.

It's not just Uncle Sam who wants you; these days, it's the other way around as well.


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