Military Recruitment Up in Slow Economy
By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Despite claims the recession is over, the job market has not yet seen signs of a rebound. Newly released numbers show nearly 15 million people are unemployed, and now some are choosing not to enter the job market at all, they're taking a career detour.
Instead of pounding the pavement for work in a soft economy, many are turning to Uncle Sam. Recruiters across the country are reporting a spike in applications for military branches, although recruitment efforts in Oklahoma are pretty consistent.
"Our kids have always been pretty patriotic and answered the call to their country and we've maintained that," said Maj. Kris Evans with the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
For the month of August, the Army National Guard recruited 93 men and women which is pretty in line with their goals, which brings the total number of recruits to about 1,100 for the year.
"The recruiters get out there, they do their job and bring us good quality applicants," Maj. Evans said.
Across the country, recruitment is up, largely due to a weak economy and a tight job market which comes as no surprise to economists.
"For someone coming out of high school or college with a really crowded job market, it makes sense to look toward the military," said Keith Geary, with Capital West Securities.
But it wasn't always this way. During the height of the Gulf War, many military branches saw their recruitment numbers fall, so they sweetened the pot with cash bonuses and tuition waivers. Those incentives remain in place today and to some, that makes the military all the more attractive, especially in a down economy.
"It will be a long recovery. So I think the next two to three years will be a good time to see the military increase their staffing with quality recruits," said Geary.