Young men and women who dropped out of high school very recently are much more likely to be unemployed than their counterparts who graduated. In October of last year, 28.2 percent of youths in the labor force who had dropped out in the previous 12 months were unemployed. In comparison, the unemployment rate of 1998 high school graduates who were not enrolled in college was much lower, at 18.4 percent.
Among both the new high school graduates and the most recent dropouts, there was a large difference between the unemployment rates of men and women. The men who graduated high school in 1998 and did not go to college had an unemployment rate of 15.5 percent, while the corresponding rate for women was 22.7 percent. The discrepancy was even greater among those who had dropped out of high school during the prior 12 months—the unemployment rate for recent male dropouts was 19.0 percent in October 1998, while the rate for female dropouts was about twice as high: 38.7 percent.
This information is from a supplement to the October 1998 Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly nationwide survey of about 50,000 households that provides basic data on national employment and unemployment. Additional information is available from "College Enrollment and Work Activity of 1998 High School Graduates," news release USDL 99-175.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Unemployment and the newest high school dropouts at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/jul/wk2/art01.htm (visited January 31, 2023).