The recession has swelled military recruitment, bumping the forces past their goals for the first time since 2004, reports the New York Times. Many Americans are being enticed from a flagging job market by the promised stability and benefits. The Army—whose recruiting has struggled most under the shadow of the Iraq war—gained 6% more active-duty soldiers and 16% more reservists in November than targeted.
Recruits are also filing in because Iraq casualties have fallen dramatically. But unemployment hikes often coincide with military enlistments, and this economic dive is especially dire, observers note. Recruiters have even had to reject overage applicants hoping to sneak in. "They are having trouble finding well-paying jobs," said a Connecticut recruiter. "No one is hiring."