Between October 2001 and October 2002, about 400,000 persons dropped out of high school.
About two-thirds of these high school dropouts were in the labor force in October 2002. Their unemployment rate was 29.8 percent—almost 13 percentage points higher than the unemployment rate for recent high school graduates who were not enrolled in college.
About 70 percent of recent male dropouts were in the labor force, as were about 66 percent of recent female dropouts. The unemployment rate was 23.4 percent among male dropouts and 37.6 percent among female dropouts.
This information is from a supplement to the October 2002 Current Population Survey. Additional information is available from "College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2002 High School Graduates" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 03-330.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Unemployment rate 29.8 percent among recent dropouts at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2003/jun/wk5/art01.htm (visited February 02, 2023).