College Enrollment and Work Activity of High School Graduates News Release

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).




Technical Note

The estimates in this release were obtained from a supplement to the October 2017
Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of about 60,000 eligible households
that provides information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment for the
nation. The CPS is conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S.
Census Bureau. Data in this release relate to the school enrollment status of persons
in the civilian noninstitutional population in the calendar week that includes the
12th of October. Data about recent high school graduates and dropouts and the
enrollment status of youth refer to persons 16 to 24 years of age. Data about recent
associate degree recipients and college graduates refer to persons 20 to 29 years
of age.

Updated population controls for the CPS are introduced annually with the release of
January data. Additional information about population controls is available on the
BLS website at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals
upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Reliability of the estimates

Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error.
When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there is a chance
that the sample estimates may differ from the true population values they represent.
The component of this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance is
known as sampling error, and its variability is measured by the standard error of
the estimate. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an
estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the
true population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted
at the 90-percent level of confidence.

The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling error can occur for
many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the population, inability
to obtain information for all respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness
of respondents to provide correct information, and errors made in the collection or
processing of the data.

Additional information about the reliability of data from the CPS and estimating
standard errors is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.

Concepts

School enrollment. Respondents were asked whether they were currently enrolled in a
regular school, including day or night school in any type of public, parochial, or
other private school. Regular schooling is that which may advance a person toward a
high school diploma or a college, university, or professional degree. Such schools
include elementary schools, junior or senior high schools, and colleges and
universities.

Other schooling, including trade schools; on-the-job training; and courses that do
not require physical presence in school, such as correspondence courses or other
courses of independent study, is included only if the credits granted count towards
promotion in regular school.

Full-time and part-time enrollment in college. College students are classified as
attending full time if they were taking 12 hours of classes or more (or 9 hours of
graduate classes) during an average school week and as part time if they were taking
fewer hours.

High school graduation status. Persons who were not enrolled in school at the time
of the survey were asked whether they had graduated from high school. Those who had
graduated were asked when they completed their high school education. Persons who
had not graduated, that is, school dropouts, were asked when they last attended a
regular school. Those who were enrolled in college at the time of the survey also
were asked when they graduated from high school.

Recent high school graduates. Persons age 16 to 24 who completed high school in
the calendar year of the survey (January through October) are recent high school
graduates.

Recent high school dropouts. Persons age 16 to 24 who were not enrolled in school
at the time of the survey, attended school a year earlier, and did not have a high
school diploma are recent dropouts.

Recent college graduates. Persons age 20 to 29 who completed a bachelor's degree
or an advanced degree--that is, a master's, professional (such as law or medicine),
or doctoral degree--in the calendar year of the survey (January through October)
are recent college graduates.

Recent associate degree recipients. Persons age 20 to 29 who completed an associate
degree (either an academic program or a vocational program) in the calendar year
of the survey (January through October) are recent associate degree recipients.
Associate degrees in academic programs are primarily in the arts and sciences and
may be transferable to a bachelor's degree program, while associate degrees in
vocational programs prepare graduates for a specific occupation.




Table 1. Labor force status of 2017 high school graduates and 2016-17 high school dropouts 16 to 24 years old by school enrollment, educational attainment, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, October 2017
[Numbers in thousands]
Characteristic Civilian
noninsti-
tutional
population
Civilian labor force Not in labor
force
Total Percent of
population
Employed Unemployed
Total Percent of
population
Number Rate

RECENT HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES

Total, 2017 high school graduates(1)

2,870 1,407 49.0 1,221 42.5 186 13.2 1,463

Men

1,345 712 52.9 604 44.9 108 15.2 633

Women

1,525 695 45.6 617 40.5 78 11.2 830

White

2,142 1,076 50.3 938 43.8 139 12.9 1,065

Black or African American

421 198 47.1 165 39.3 33 16.6 223

Asian

165 62 37.7 58 35.0 5 - 103

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

597 336 56.3 286 47.9 50 15.0 261

Enrolled in College

Total, enrolled in college

1,915 763 39.8 685 35.8 78 10.2 1,152

Enrolled in 2-year college

648 378 58.4 346 53.5 32 8.4 269

Enrolled in 4-year college

1,267 384 30.3 338 26.7 46 11.9 883

Full-time students

1,764 651 36.9 574 32.5 78 11.9 1,113

Part-time students

150 111 74.0 111 74.0 - - 39

Men

822 339 41.2 303 36.8 36 10.6 483

Women

1,093 424 38.8 382 35.0 42 9.9 669

White

1,437 605 42.1 540 37.6 64 10.6 832

Black or African American

250 83 33.2 71 28.4 12 14.5 167

Asian

137 42 30.5 40 29.4 2 - 95

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

364 193 52.8 164 45.1 28 14.7 172

Not enrolled in college

Total, not enrolled in college

955 644 67.4 536 56.1 108 16.8 311

Men

523 373 71.3 301 57.6 72 19.3 150

Women

432 271 62.7 235 54.3 36 13.3 161

White

705 472 66.9 397 56.4 74 15.8 233

Black or African American

171 115 67.4 94 55.2 21 18.2 56

Asian

29 21 - 18 - 3 - 8

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

233 144 61.7 122 52.3 22 15.3 89

RECENT HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS

Total, 2016-17 high school dropouts(2)

530 222 41.8 180 33.9 42 18.9 308

Men

313 152 48.7 127 40.4 26 17.0 161

Women

217 69 31.9 53 24.5 16 - 148

White

379 184 48.6 151 39.8 33 18.0 195

Black or African American

86 15 17.0 12 13.6 3 - 72

Asian

42 8 - 8 - - - 34

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

162 52 32.3 36 22.3 16 - 110

(1) Data refer to persons who graduated from high school in January through October 2017.
(2) Data refer to persons who dropped out of school between October 2016 and October 2017.

NOTE: Detail for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data. Dash indicates no data or data that do not meet publication criteria (values not shown where base is less than 75,000).


Table 2. Labor force status of persons 16 to 24 years old by school enrollment, educational attainment, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, October 2017
[Numbers in thousands]
Characteristic Civilian
noninsti-
tutional
population
Civilian labor force Not in labor
force
Total Percent of
population
Employed Unemployed
Total Percent of
population
Number Rate

Total, 16 to 24 years

38,079 21,151 55.5 19,298 50.7 1,853 8.8 16,928

Enrolled in school

Total, enrolled in school

21,805 8,207 37.6 7,548 34.6 659 8.0 13,597

Enrolled in high school(1)

9,667 2,202 22.8 1,884 19.5 318 14.4 7,466

Men

5,063 1,060 20.9 874 17.3 186 17.5 4,002

Women

4,605 1,141 24.8 1,010 21.9 132 11.5 3,463

White

6,978 1,698 24.3 1,476 21.1 222 13.1 5,281

Black or African American

1,509 278 18.4 239 15.8 39 14.1 1,231

Asian

499 51 10.3 39 7.8 13 - 448

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

2,187 391 17.9 302 13.8 89 22.7 1,797

Enrolled in college

12,137 6,006 49.5 5,664 46.7 342 5.7 6,131

Enrolled in 2-year college

3,009 1,806 60.0 1,686 56.0 120 6.7 1,202

Enrolled in 4-year college

9,129 4,200 46.0 3,978 43.6 221 5.3 4,929

Full-time students

10,502 4,608 43.9 4,319 41.1 289 6.3 5,893

Part-time students

1,636 1,398 85.4 1,345 82.2 52 3.7 238

Men

5,523 2,602 47.1 2,444 44.2 158 6.1 2,921

Women

6,614 3,404 51.5 3,221 48.7 183 5.4 3,211

White

8,831 4,626 52.4 4,389 49.7 237 5.1 4,206

Black or African American

1,613 757 46.9 673 41.7 85 11.2 856

Asian

1,129 369 32.7 353 31.2 16 4.4 760

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

2,489 1,340 53.9 1,274 51.2 66 4.9 1,149

Not enrolled in school

Total, not enrolled in school

16,274 12,943 79.5 11,749 72.2 1,194 9.2 3,331

16 to 19 years

3,224 2,044 63.4 1,737 53.9 307 15.0 1,180

20 to 24 years

13,050 10,899 83.5 10,013 76.7 887 8.1 2,150

Men

8,591 7,162 83.4 6,443 75.0 719 10.0 1,429

Less than a high school diploma

1,262 782 62.0 664 52.6 118 15.1 480

High school graduates, no college(2)

4,150 3,461 83.4 3,099 74.7 362 10.5 689

Some college or associate degree

1,951 1,766 90.5 1,628 83.5 138 7.8 185

Bachelor's degree and higher(3)

1,228 1,153 93.9 1,052 85.6 101 8.8 75

Women

7,683 5,781 75.2 5,306 69.1 475 8.2 1,902

Less than a high school diploma

936 428 45.7 363 38.8 65 15.1 508

High school graduates, no college(2)

3,197 2,246 70.2 2,010 62.9 236 10.5 951

Some college or associate degree

2,014 1,689 83.9 1,591 79.0 98 5.8 325

Bachelor's degree and higher(3)

1,536 1,418 92.3 1,342 87.4 76 5.3 118

White

12,164 9,760 80.2 9,016 74.1 744 7.6 2,404

Black or African American

2,600 2,049 78.8 1,718 66.1 330 16.1 552

Asian

616 451 73.3 421 68.3 31 6.8 165

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

3,892 2,886 74.2 2,614 67.2 272 9.4 1,006

(1) Includes a small number of persons enrolled in grades below high school.
(2) Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
(3) Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.

NOTE: Detail for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data. Dash indicates no data or data that do not meet publication criteria (values not shown where base is less than 75,000).


Table 3. Labor force status of 2017 associate degree recipients and college graduates 20 to 29 years old by selected characteristics, October 2017
[Numbers in thousands]
Characteristic Civilian
noninsti-
tutional
population
Civilian labor force Not in labor
force
Total Percent of
population
Employed Unemployed
Total Percent of
population
Number Rate

RECENT ASSOCIATE DEGREE RECIPIENTS(1)

Total, 20 to 29 years

378 320 84.6 302 79.8 18 5.6 58

Men

186 146 78.7 141 75.6 6 3.9 40

Women

192 173 90.3 161 84.0 12 7.0 19

20 to 24 years

244 210 85.7 200 82.0 9 4.4 35

25 to 29 years

133 110 82.5 101 75.9 9 7.9 23

Vocational program

145 117 80.8 109 75.3 8 6.8 28

Academic program

233 202 87.0 192 82.7 10 4.9 30

Enrolled in school

134 101 75.0 95 71.0 5 5.3 34

Not enrolled in school

244 219 89.9 206 84.7 13 5.7 25

RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATES(2)

Total, 20 to 29 years

1,660 1,419 85.5 1,288 77.6 131 9.3 241

Men

796 696 87.5 615 77.2 81 11.7 100

Women

864 723 83.6 673 77.9 50 6.9 141

20 to 24 years

1,156 984 85.1 896 77.5 88 9.0 172

25 to 29 years

505 435 86.2 392 77.7 43 9.9 69

Enrolled in school

373 232 62.1 220 59.0 12 5.0 142

Not enrolled in school

1,287 1,187 92.3 1,067 83.0 120 10.1 99

White

1,220 1,078 88.4 983 80.6 95 8.8 142

Black or African American

150 125 83.1 98 65.2 27 21.6 25

Asian

237 173 73.2 167 70.5 6 3.6 64

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

179 148 82.4 144 80.3 4 2.5 32

Bachelor's degree

Total, 20 to 29 years

1,218 1,030 84.6 945 77.6 85 8.3 188

Men

585 506 86.5 445 76.1 61 12.0 79

Women

632 524 82.9 500 79.0 24 4.7 108

20 to 24 years

1,005 852 84.7 775 77.1 77 9.0 153

25 to 29 years

213 178 83.8 170 79.8 8 4.8 34

Enrolled in school

311 181 58.1 173 55.7 7 4.1 130

Not enrolled in school

906 849 93.7 771 85.1 78 9.2 57

Advanced degree(3)

Total, 20 to 29 years

442 389 87.9 343 77.5 46 11.9 53

Men

210 190 90.4 169 80.5 21 10.9 20

Women

232 199 85.8 174 74.8 25 12.8 33

20 to 24 years

151 132 87.8 121 80.2 11 8.6 18

25 to 29 years

292 257 88.0 222 76.1 35 13.5 35

(1) Data refer to persons who received an associate degree in January through October 2017.
(2) Data refer to persons who received a bachelor's or higher degree in January through October 2017.
(3) Data refer to persons who received a master's, professional, or doctoral degree in January through October 2017.

NOTE: Detail for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.


Last Modified Date: April 26, 2018