WASHINGTON — Military recruiters are seeing signs that more young people may be considering military careers, according to a report in USA Today on Wednesday.
According to a Pentagon survey that questioned 3,304 people between 16 and 21 years old, the percentage of young people who said they would probably join the military increased to 11 percent in the first half of 2008 from 9 percent the previous year, the newspaper said.
Recruiters told USA Today that the worsening economy and optimism about Iraq have lead more teens to consider a military enlistment.
Staff Sgt. Harry Weaver, a recruiter at the Mount Clemens, Mich., recruiting station, told the newspaper that in recent years his post has struggled to convince anyone to join the military.
Over the past two months, the station has signed up 32 people, compared with 11 during the same period two years ago.
Curtis Gilroy, a Pentagon personnel official, said in the report that the increase in interest has recruiters hoping they can become more selective in who they admit to the ranks.
The Army reported that in fiscal 2008, which ended Sept. 30, 83 percent of its recruits had high school diplomas. That’s up from 79 percent in fiscal 2007.
Still, Gilroy told USA Today that it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions on whether this year’s recruiting will equal or surpass last year’s.