College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2016 High School Graduates

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, April 27, 2017           USDL-17-0477

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
                            2016 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES


In October 2016, 69.7 percent of 2016 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 2016 were about 
twice as likely as enrolled graduates to be working or looking for work 
(72.3 percent, compared with 38.4 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 3.1 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between 
January and October 2016, about 2.2 million (69.7 percent) were enrolled in 
college in October. The college enrollment rate of recent high school graduates 
in October 2016 was little changed from the rate in October 2015 (69.2 percent). 
For 2016 high school graduates, the college enrollment rate was 71.9 percent for 
young women and 67.4 percent for young men. The college enrollment rate of recent 
Asian graduates (92.4 percent) was higher than for their Hispanic (72.0 percent), 
White (69.7 percent), and Black (58.2 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 38.4 
percent. The participation rates for male and female graduates enrolled in 
college were 41.5 percent and 35.7 percent, respectively.

Among recent high school graduates enrolled in college in October 2016, 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 (34.6 percent) as were their 
peers enrolled part time (77.1 percent).

About 2 in 3 recent high school graduates enrolled in college attended 4-year 
colleges. Of these students, 31.5 percent participated in the labor force in 
October 2016, lower than the 51.8 percent for recent graduates enrolled in 
2-year colleges.

Recent high school graduates not enrolled in college in the fall of 2016 were 
much more likely than enrolled graduates to be in the labor force (72.3 percent, 
compared with 38.4 percent). The unemployment rate for recent high school 
graduates not enrolled in college was 19.3 percent, more than double the rate 
of 8.0 percent for recent graduates enrolled in college.

Between October 2015 and October 2016, 513,000 young people dropped out of high 
school. The labor force participation rate for recent dropouts (50.9 percent) 
was lower than the rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in 
college (72.3 percent). The jobless rate for recent high school dropouts was 
31.9 percent in October 2016, higher than the rate for recent high school 
graduates not enrolled in college (19.3 percent).

All Youth Enrolled in High School or College

In October 2016, 57.5 percent of the nation's 22.1 million 16- to 24-year olds 
were enrolled in high school (9.5 million) or in college (12.5 million). 
The labor force participation rate (36.0 percent) and the unemployment rate 
(8.4 percent) for youth enrolled in school were both essentially unchanged from 
October 2015 to October 2016. (See table 2.)

In October 2016, high school students continued to be less likely than college 
students to participate in the labor force (20.7 percent, compared with 47.7 
percent). Female high school students were more likely to be in the labor force 
(23.5 percent) than their male counterparts (18.1 percent).

Full-time college students were much less likely to participate in the labor 
force in October 2016 than were part-time students (42.3 percent versus 83.3 
percent). Among college students, labor force participation was lower for 
Asians (31.2 percent) than for Blacks (45.0 percent), Hispanics (47.5 percent), 
and Whites (49.8 percent). Labor force participation rates for female and male 
college students were similar (48.3 percent and 47.0 percent, respectively).

The unemployment rate for high school students, at 16.3 percent in October 
2016, was almost three times the rate for college students (5.9 percent). Among 
Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics, unemployment rates were higher for high school 
students than for college students.

All Youth Not Enrolled in School

In October 2016, 16.3 million persons age 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school. 
The labor force participation rate of youth not enrolled in school, at 79.7 
percent, was little changed over the year. Among youth not enrolled in school 
in October 2016, young men continued to be more likely than young women to 
participate in the labor force (83.7 percent, compared with 75.5 percent). Labor 
force participation rates for not-enrolled men and women were highest for those 
with a bachelor's degree or higher (92.9 percent and 91.9 percent, respectively) 
and lowest for men and women with less than a high school diploma (69.6 percent 
and 47.4 percent, respectively). (See table 2.)

The unemployment rate for youth age 16 to 24 not enrolled in school, at 11.2 
percent, was little changed over the year. Among not-enrolled youth who did not 
have a high school diploma, unemployment rates in October 2016 were 24.0 percent 
for young men and 20.7 percent for young women. In contrast, the jobless rates 
of young men and women with at least a bachelor's degree were 8.3 percent and 
5.1 percent, respectively. Black youth not enrolled in school had an 
unemployment rate of 20.4 percent in October 2016, higher than the rates for 
their Hispanic (10.5 percent), White (9.4 percent), and Asian (7.7 percent) 
counterparts.



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Last Modified Date: April 27, 2017