WASHINGTON -- In these tough economic times, many businesses are forced to let employees go, but there is one employer that is hiring in every state, and Americans are applying in record numbers -- the U.S. Army.
Finding a steady job is a challenge, but no matter how bad the economy gets, there is one employer who is always looking for a few good men and women.
And these days, Uncle Sam is finding good men and women.
"With the Army, I mean, you're for sure gonna get a paycheck every two weeks," said Army recruit David Quintero. "There's a lot of security and stability."
And that is something many high school graduates are desperate for.
At 9.8 percent, the unemployment rate has reached a 26 year high. But for Americans at prime military recruiting age, it is much worse.
Unemployment for 18- and 19-year-olds is 24 percent and for men that age it is 28 percent.
"Nowadays, everyone is coming to us, asking us about information about joining the Army," said Sgt. 1st Class Llorito Todd.
The realities of the job market are keeping military recruiters busy.
This year, for the first time since the U.S. military became an all-volunteer force in 1973, every branch of the service has met its recruiting goals.
"As unemployment goes up, then each employer who is hiring gains some advantage," said Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Bill Carr.
One of those advantages is more qualified men and women in uniform after the Army lowered standards for admission several years ago to fill its depleted war-time ranks.
The reset standards allowed lower academic scores, recruits with weight problems, and even criminal records.
And today, as violence escalates in places like Afghanistan, military leaders welcome a well-qualified and strong force, while new recruits welcome a steady paycheck.
*Original Broadcast Date: October 21, 2009.