December 3rd, 2009
12:48 PM ET

Uncle Sam is getting picky

Despite two wars, President Obama's 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan and the Army's goal to swell its ranks by 15,000 this fiscal year, potential recruits are finding that it's a lot tougher to sign up, according to

"Military recruiting is through the roof," said Mackenzie Eaglen, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. "In fact, they're turning people away."

The dismal job market has put the armed forces in an enviable position. Unemployment is at a 26-year high of 10.2%, and the U.S. economy has lost 7.3 million jobs since the start of 2008. This has prompted many Americans to consider the military for work, despite the prospect of armed combat in Afghanistan or Iraq.

"It's just like any industry, when there's a glut of employees vying for a certain number of jobs, the employer can be a little bit more choosey," said Army spokesman Wayne Hall, a civilian at the Pentagon. "That's just the nature of supply and demand."

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