College Enrollment and Work Activity of Recent High School and College Graduates Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, April 26, 2018                        USDL-18-0635

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 RECENT HIGH SCHOOL
                           AND COLLEGE GRADUATES -- 2017


In October 2017, 66.7 percent of 2017 high school graduates age 16 to 24 were
enrolled in colleges or universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Among persons age 20 to 29 who received a bachelor's degree in 2017, 77.6
percent were employed.

Information on school enrollment and employment status 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 recent degree recipients and school
enrollment. In addition to data on recent high school graduates, this release for the
first time presents information on recent degree recipients age 20 to 29. Additional
information about the October supplement is included in the Technical Note.

Highlights from the October 2017 data:

   --Among recent high school graduates age 16 to 24, women remained more likely
     to be enrolled in college (71.7 percent) than men (61.1 percent). (See
     table 1.)

   --Among 16- to 24-year-olds, 41.8 percent of recent high school dropouts were
     working or looking for work, lower than the labor force participation rate
     of 67.4 percent for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college.
     (See table 1.)

   --About 16.3 million people age 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school--42.7
     percent of the total. (See table 2.)

   --Among 20- to 29-year-olds, 79.8 percent of recent associate degree recipients,
     77.6 percent of recent bachelor's degree recipients, and 77.5 percent of
     recent advanced degree recipients were employed. (See table 3.)

   --About one-fourth of recent bachelor's degree recipients age 20 to 29 were
     enrolled in school. (See table 3.)

   --Among those age 20 to 29, unemployment rates for recent associate degree
     recipients, recent bachelor's degree recipients, and recent advanced degree
     recipients were 5.6 percent, 8.3 percent, and 11.9 percent, respectively.
     (See table 3.)

Recent High School Graduates and Dropouts (Age 16 to 24)

Of the 2.9 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between January
and October 2017, about 1.9 million (66.7 percent) were enrolled in college in
October. The college enrollment rate of recent high school graduates in October 2017
was slightly lower than the rate in October 2016 (69.7 percent). (See table 1.)

Among 2017 high school graduates age 16 to 24, the college enrollment rate for young
women was 71.7 percent, higher than the rate of 61.1 percent for young men. The
college enrollment rate of recent Asian graduates (83.0 percent) was higher than for
their White (67.1 percent), Hispanic (61.0 percent), and Black (59.4 percent)
counterparts.

The labor force participation rate (the proportion of the population that is employed
or looking for work) for recent high school graduates enrolled in college was 39.8
percent. The participation rates for male and female graduates enrolled in college
were about the same, at 41.2 percent and 38.8 percent, respectively.

Among recent high school graduates enrolled in college in October 2017, 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 (36.9 percent) as were their peers enrolled
part time (74.0 percent).

About 2 in 3 recent high school graduates enrolled in college attended 4-year colleges.
Of these students, 30.3 percent participated in the labor force in October 2017, lower
than the 58.4 percent for recent graduates enrolled in 2-year colleges.

Recent high school graduates not enrolled in college in the fall of 2017 were much
more likely than enrolled graduates to be in the labor force (67.4 percent, compared
with  39.8 percent). The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not
enrolled in college was 16.8 percent, higher than the rate of 10.2 percent for recent
graduates enrolled in college.

Between October 2016 and October 2017, 530,000 young people dropped out of high
school. The labor force participation rate for recent dropouts (41.8 percent) was
much lower than the rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college 
(67.4 percent). The jobless rate for recent high school dropouts was 18.9 percent in
October 2017, little different from the rate for recent high school graduates not
enrolled in college (16.8 percent).

All Youth Enrolled in High School or College (Age 16 to 24)

In October 2017, 57.3 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds, or 21.8 million youth, were enrolled
in high school (9.7 million) or in college (12.1 million). The labor force participation
rate for youth enrolled in school, at 37.6 percent, increased from October 2016 to
October 2017. The unemployment rate (8.0 percent) for youth enrolled in school in October
2017 was about unchanged from the previous year. (See table 2.)

In October 2017, high school students continued to be less than half as likely as 
college students to participate in the labor force (22.8 percent, compared with 49.5
percent). In both high school and college, female students are more likely to
participate in the labor force than their male counterparts.

Among college students, those enrolled full time were much less likely to participate
in the labor force in October 2017 than were part-time students (43.9 percent versus
85.4 percent). Similarly, students at 4-year colleges were much less likely to be in
the labor force than were students at 2-year schools (46.0 percent and 60.0 percent,
respectively). The labor force participation rate was lower for Asian college students
(32.7 percent) than for their Black (46.9 percent), Hispanic (53.9 percent), and White
(52.4 percent) counterparts.

The unemployment rate for high school students, at 14.4 percent in October 2017,
continued to be higher than the rate for college students (5.7 percent).

All Youth Not Enrolled in School (Age 16 to 24)

In October 2017, 16.3 million persons age 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school--42.7
percent of the total. The labor force participation rate of youth not enrolled in
school, at 79.5 percent, was little changed over the year. Among youth not enrolled
in school in October 2017, young men continued to be more likely than young women to
participate in the labor force (83.4 percent, compared with 75.2 percent). Labor
force participation rates for not-enrolled men and women were highest for those with
a bachelor's degree or higher (93.9 percent and 92.3 percent, respectively) and lowest
for men and women with less than a high school diploma (62.0 percent and 45.7 percent,
respectively). (See table 2.)

The unemployment rate for youth age 16 to 24 not enrolled in school, at 9.2 percent,
was down by 2.0 percentage points over the year. Among not-enrolled youth who did not
have a high school diploma, unemployment rates in October 2017 were 15.1 percent for
both young men and young women. In contrast, the jobless rates of young men and women
with at least a bachelor's degree were 8.8 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. Black
youth not enrolled in school had an unemployment rate of 16.1 percent in October 2017,
higher than the rates for their Hispanic (9.4 percent), White (7.6 percent), and Asian
(6.8 percent) counterparts.

Recent College Graduates (Age 20 to 29)

Between January and October 2017, 1.2 million 20- to 29-year-olds earned a bachelor's
degree; of these, 945,000 (or 77.6 percent) were employed in October 2017. The unemployment
rate for recent college graduates with a bachelor's degree was 8.3 percent in October 2017.
(See table 3.)

There was little difference in the likelihood of being employed among male and female
college graduates; 76.1 percent of men and 79.0 percent of women who recently earned a
bachelor's degree were employed in October 2017. However, the jobless rate for recent male
bachelor's degree recipients was 12.0 percent, more than double the rate of 4.7 percent
for their female counterparts.
 
About one-quarter (or 311,000) of recent bachelor's degree recipients were enrolled in
school in October 2017. These recent graduates who were enrolled in school were much less
likely to be employed than those who were not enrolled (55.7 percent versus 85.1 percent).

Between January and October 2017, 442,000 20- to 29-year-olds earned an advanced degree--
that is, a master's, professional, or doctoral degree. Those who recently earned an
advanced degree were about as likely as those who recently earned a bachelor's degree to
be employed (77.5 percent, compared with 77.6 percent). In October 2017, the unemployment
rate for recent advanced degree recipients was 11.9 percent.
 
Recent Associate Degree Recipients (Age 20 to 29)

Of the 378,000 20- to 29-year-olds who completed an associate degree between January
and October 2017, 79.8 percent were employed in October 2017. The unemployment rate for
recent associate degree recipients was 5.6 percent. (See table 3.) 

Recent associate degree recipients age 20 to 29 were more likely to have completed an
academic program than a vocational program (62 percent and 38 percent, respectively).
Associate degrees in academic programs are primarily in the arts and sciences and are
often transferable to a bachelor's degree program, while associate degrees in vocational
programs prepare graduates for a specific occupation.

About one-third of recent associate degree recipients were enrolled in school in
October 2017. These recent graduates who were enrolled in school were less likely to
be employed than those who were not enrolled (71.0 percent versus 84.7 percent).



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Last Modified Date: April 26, 2018