Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Economic News Release
PRINT:Print
CPS CPS Program Links

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

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 28, 2020			USDL-20-0715

Technical information:	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 -- 2019


In October 2019, 66.2 percent of 2019 high school graduates ages 16 to 24 were
enrolled in colleges or universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Among 20- to 29-year-olds who received a bachelor's degree in
2019, 76.0 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 ages 16 to 24, this news release presents information on 
recent degree recipients ages 20 to 29. For more information, see the Technical
Note in this news release. 

Following are some highlights from the October 2019 data:

   --Among recent high school graduates ages 16 to 24, college enrollment
     rates for men and women were 62.0 percent and 69.8 percent, respectively.
     (See table 1.)
   
   --Among 16- to 24-year-olds, 38.2 percent of recent high school dropouts
     were working or looking for work, lower than the labor force participation
     rate of 72.2 percent for recent high school graduates not enrolled in
     college. (See table 1.)

   --About 16.2 million persons ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school--
     42.9 percent of all persons in this age group. (See table 2.)

   --Among 20- to 29-year-olds, 71.3 percent of recent associate degree
     recipients, 76.0 percent of recent bachelor's degree recipients, and
     82.3 percent of recent advanced degree recipients were employed. (See
     table 3.)

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

   --Among 20- to 29-year-olds, unemployment rates for recent associate
     degree recipients, recent bachelor's degree recipients, and recent
     advanced degree recipients were 8.7 percent, 8.8 percent, and 12.9
     percent, respectively. (See table 3.) 

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

Of the 3.2 million youth ages 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between
January and October 2019, 2.1 million (66.2 percent) were enrolled in college
in October. The college enrollment rate of recent high school graduates in
October 2019 was down slightly from the rate in October 2018 (69.1 percent).
(See table 1.)

Among 2019 high school graduates ages 16 to 24, the college enrollment rate
for young women was 69.8 percent in October 2019, compared with 62.0 percent
for young men. The college enrollment rate of Asians (89.9 percent) was
higher than the rates for recent White (66.9 percent), Hispanic (63.4 percent),
and Black (50.7 percent) graduates. 

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 37.8 percent. The participation rates for male and female
graduates enrolled in college were 35.6 percent and 39.5 percent, respectively.

Among recent high school graduates enrolled in college in October 2019, about
9 in 10 were full-time students. Recent graduates enrolled as full-time students
were less than half as likely to be in the labor force (34.0 percent) as were
their peers enrolled part time (78.8 percent).

About 2 in 3 recent high school graduates enrolled in college attended 4-year
colleges. Of these students, 33.1 percent participated in the labor force in
October 2019, lower than the 47.4 percent for recent graduates enrolled in
2-year colleges.

In October 2019, labor force participation was much higher for recent high
school graduates not enrolled in college (72.2 percent) than for enrolled
graduates (37.8 percent). The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates
not enrolled in college was 18.2 percent, higher than the rate of 11.0 percent
for recent graduates enrolled in college.

Between October 2018 and October 2019, 490,000 young people dropped out of high
school. The labor force participation rate for recent dropouts (38.2 percent)
was much lower than the rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in
college (72.2 percent). The jobless rate for recent high school dropouts was
14.8 percent in October 2019; the rate for recent high school graduates not
enrolled in college was 18.2 percent.

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

In October 2019, 21.5 million 16- to 24-year-olds, or 57.1 percent of youth,
were enrolled in high school (9.4 million) or in college (12.2 million). The
labor force participation rate for youth enrolled in school, at 38.0 percent,
increased from October 2018 to October 2019. The unemployment rate (6.1 percent)
for youth enrolled in school changed little from the previous year. (See table 2.)

In October 2019, high school students continued to be less likely than 
college students to participate in the labor force (22.3 percent, compared
with 50.2 percent). The participation rates for male and female high 
school students were 21.0 percent and 23.7 percent, respectively. 

Among college students, those enrolled full time were much less likely to
participate in the labor force in October 2019 than were part-time students 
(44.5 percent versus 87.2 percent). Students at 4-year colleges were also
less likely to be in the labor force than were students at 2-year schools
(46.9 percent and 59.8 percent, respectively). Female college students were
more likely to participate in the labor force than their male counterparts
(53.6 percent, compared with 46.1 percent). By race and ethnicity, the labor
force participation rate was lower for Asian college students (36.3 percent)
than for their Black (46.5 percent), White (52.2 percent), and Hispanic (55.5
percent) counterparts. 

The unemployment rate for high school students, at 11.3 percent in October
2019, continued to be higher than the rate for college students (4.3 percent). 

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

In October 2019, 16.2 million persons ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school.
The labor force participation rate of youth not enrolled in school increased
over the year to 81.2 percent. Among youth not enrolled in school in October
2019, young men continued to be more likely than young women to participate in
the labor force (83.9 percent, compared with 78.1 percent). Labor force
participation rates for not-enrolled men and women were highest for those with
a bachelor's degree or higher (91.2 percent and 93.5 percent, respectively)
and lowest for men and women with less than a high school diploma (63.9 percent
and 52.6 percent, respectively). (See table 2.)

The unemployment rate for youth ages 16 to 24 not enrolled in school, at 8.6
percent, was little changed over the year. Among not-enrolled youth who did
not have a high school diploma, unemployment rates in October 2019 were 16.1
percent for young men and 12.4 percent for young women. The jobless rates of
young men and young women with at least a bachelor's degree were 5.8 percent
and 4.8 percent, respectively. Among youth not enrolled in school, the
unemployment rate was 15.7 percent for Blacks, 9.6 percent for Hispanics,
8.6 percent for Asians, and 7.0 percent for Whites.

Recent College Graduates (Ages 20 to 29)

Between January and October 2019, 1.1 million 20- to 29-year-olds earned a
bachelor's degree; of these, 867,000 (or 76.0 percent) were employed in
October 2019. The unemployment rate for recent college graduates with a
bachelor's degree, at 8.8 percent, decreased from the previous year. (See
table 3.)

Female recent bachelor's degree recipients were more likely to be employed
than their male counterparts in October 2019 (79.4 percent versus 71.8
percent). The jobless rates for recent female and male bachelor's degree
recipients were 7.5 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively. 

About one-quarter (or 294,000) of recent bachelor's degree recipients
were enrolled in school in October 2019. These recent graduates who were
enrolled in school were much less likely to be employed than those who
were not enrolled (51.9 percent versus 84.4 percent).

Between January and October 2019, 364,000 persons ages 20 to 29 earned
an advanced degree--that is, a master's, professional, or doctoral degree.
About 8 in 10 of those who recently earned an advanced degree were
employed (82.3 percent). In October 2019, the unemployment rate for
recent advanced degree recipients was 12.9 percent.

Recent Associate Degree Recipients (Ages 20 to 29)

Of the 360,000 20- to 29-year-olds who completed an associate degree
between January and October 2019, 71.3 percent were employed in October
2019. The unemployment rate for recent associate degree recipients was
8.7 percent. (See table 3.) 

Recent associate degree recipients ages 20 to 29 were more likely to have
completed an academic program than a vocational program (67.8 percent,
compared with 32.2 percent). 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.

In October 2019, 160,000 (or 44.4 percent) recent associate degree
recipients were enrolled in school. Of these recent recipients who were 
enrolled in school, 63.6 percent were employed. In October 2019, 77.4 
percent of recent associate degree recipients who were not enrolled in 
school were employed.



The PDF version of the news release

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: April 28, 2020