Weak labor markets make army-building cheaper

It's generally accepted that civil conflict is more likely when a county's economic growth slows down (see here).  One hypothesis to explain this phenomena is that when economies perform poorly, soldiering becomes a relatively more appealing job and attracts individuals who might otherwise work elsewhere.  The argument goes that this makes it cheaper for opposition groups to build forces to fight an established government, thereby making conflict more likely.

In what seems like support for this idea (albeit in a different context), I heard this story reporting that these labor market dynamics appear to be obvious in the United States and are accepted wisdom at the Pentagon:
"A recession really does make recruiting less challenging than it otherwise would be," says Dr. Curtis Gilroy, who oversees active duty military recruiting nationwide. "We're in our third year in which all active duty services have achieved their numerical recruiting goals and either met or exceeded their recruit quality benchmarks as well." 
So the military gains not just more recruits, but better ones. Test scores are up along with the number of recruits who graduated high school. Today the military is letting in fewer recruits with waivers for minor criminal histories or past drug use. 
For all services, the quality of recruits is the highest it's been in nearly two decades. This, even as the nation is at war — and the risks of military service are as clear as ever.
Fraction of recruits graduating from high school,
 a measure of "recruit quality" used by the military.

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