College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2015 High School Graduates

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, April 28, 2016                       USDL-16-0822

Technical information: (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:         (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


            COLLEGE ENROLLMENT AND WORK ACTIVITY OF 2015 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES


In October 2015, 69.2 percent of 2015 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or
universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Recent high school
graduates not enrolled in college in October 2015 were about twice as likely as enrolled
graduates to be working or looking for work (72.7 percent compared with 36.0 percent).

Information on school enrollment and work activity is collected monthly in the Current
Population Survey (CPS), a nationwide survey of about 60,000 households that provides
information on employment and unemployment. Each October, a supplement to the CPS
gathers more detailed information about school enrollment, such as full- and part-time
enrollment status. Additional information about the October supplement is included in
the Technical Note.

Recent High School Graduates and Dropouts

Of the 3.0 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between January
and October 2015, about 2.1 million (69.2 percent) were enrolled in college in October.
The college enrollment rate of recent high school graduates in October 2015 was little
different from the rate in October 2014 (68.4 percent). For 2015 high school graduates,
the college enrollment rate was 72.6 percent for young women and 65.8 percent for young
men. The college enrollment rate of recent Asian (83.0 percent) graduates was higher
than for their White (71.1 percent), Hispanic (68.9 percent), and Black (54.6 percent)
counterparts. (See table 1.)

The labor force participation rate (the proportion of the population working or looking
for work) for recent high school graduates enrolled in college was 36.0 percent in
October 2015. The participation rates for male and female graduates enrolled in college
were 37.9 percent and 34.3 percent, respectively.

Among recent high school graduates enrolled in college in October 2015, about 9 in 10
were full-time students. Recent graduates enrolled as full-time students were about half
as likely to be in the labor force (32.9 percent) as were their peers enrolled part time
(69.3 percent).

About 2 in 3 recent high school graduates enrolled in college attended 4-year colleges.
Of these students, 29.5 percent participated in the labor force, compared with 47.3
percent of recent graduates enrolled in 2-year colleges.

Recent high school graduates not enrolled in college in the fall of 2015 were much more
likely than enrolled graduates to be in the labor force (72.7 percent compared with 36.0
percent). The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college
was 20.7 percent, higher than the rate of 12.6 percent for recent graduates enrolled in
college.

Between October 2014 and October 2015, 521,000 young people dropped out of high school.
The labor force participation rate for recent dropouts (45.9 percent) was much lower
than for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college (72.7 percent). The
jobless rate for recent high school dropouts was 19.8 percent, similar to the rate for
recent high school graduates not enrolled in college (20.7 percent).

All Youth Enrolled in High School or College

In October 2015, 57.0 percent of the nation's 16- to -24 year olds, or 21.9 million
young people, were enrolled in high school (9.6 million) or in college (12.3 million).
The labor force participation rate (36.2 percent) of youth enrolled in school was down
from October 2014 to October 2015. The unemployment rate for this group (8.8 percent)
was also down over the year. (See table 2.)

In October 2015, college students continued to be more likely to participate in the
labor force than high school students (47.7 percent compared with 21.3 percent). Those
attending college full time had a much lower labor force participation rate than did
part-time students (42.5 percent versus 79.9 percent). For high school and college
students, Asians were less likely to participate in the labor force than Blacks, Whites,
or Hispanics. Female college students were more likely to be in the labor force (49.8
percent) than their male counterparts (45.4 percent). Labor force participation rates
for female and male high school students were similar (22.5 percent and 20.2 percent,
respectively).

The unemployment rate for high school students, at 14.6 percent in October 2015, was
more than twice the rate for college students (6.8 percent). Unemployment rates were
higher for high school students than for college students for Blacks, Whites, and
Hispanics. 

All Youth Not Enrolled in School

In October 2015, 16.5 million persons age 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school. The
labor force participation rate of youth not enrolled in school increased over the year
from 78.9 percent to 80.1 percent. Among youth not enrolled in school in October 2015,
young men continued to be more likely than young women to participate in the labor
force--84.1 percent compared with 75.7 percent. Labor force participation rates for
not-enrolled men and women were highest for those with a bachelor's degree or higher
(95.5 percent and 92.3 percent, respectively) and lowest for men and women with less
than a high school diploma (65.5 percent and 44.6 percent, respectively). (See table 2.)

The unemployment rate for youth age 16 to 24 not enrolled in school declined over the
year from 13.7 percent to 11.7 percent. Among not-enrolled youth who did not have a high
school diploma, unemployment rates in October 2015 were 27.0 percent for young men and
22.6 percent for young women. In contrast, the jobless rates of young men and women with
at least a bachelor's degree were 4.5 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively. Black youth
not enrolled in school had an unemployment rate of 21.6 percent in October 2015, higher
than the rates for their White (9.5 percent), Asian (6.5 percent), and Hispanic (12.8
percent) counterparts.



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Last Modified Date: April 28, 2016