Students less likely to work in October 2015 than in the 1980s and 1990s

May 18, 2016

In October 2015, 57.0 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds, or 21.9 million young people, were enrolled in high school or college. Among these students, nearly a quarter of 16- to 19-year-olds and nearly half of 20- to 24-year-olds had a job in October. Both figures were about the same as in October 2014 but well below their peaks. Among students ages 16 to 19, 40.2 percent worked in October 1989, compared with 23.7 percent in October 2015. Among students ages 20 to 24, 61.6 percent worked in October 2000, compared with 47.8 percent in October 2015.

 

 

Employment–population ratios in October of young people by school enrollment status, 1970–2015
Year Ages 16 to 19 Ages 20 to 24
Enrolled  Not enrolled  Enrolled  Not enrolled 

1970

31.5% 58.3% 47.1% 67.6%

1971

31.5 58.0 46.2 68.0

1972

32.7 62.2 48.0 69.8

1973

35.7 64.5 49.6 73.0

1974

35.2 63.1 51.2 72.4

1975

33.8 58.8 47.2 68.8

1976

34.5 60.4 50.2 70.8

1977

36.8 63.9 50.8 73.3

1978

38.7 66.2 53.0 75.9

1979

37.8 65.1 52.4 75.3

1980

36.4 62.4 51.3 72.8

1981

34.4 59.9 52.0 72.6

1982

32.5 55.1 51.3 69.4

1983

32.3 57.0 50.8 71.5

1984

34.2 59.7 52.9 74.4

1985

34.7 58.8 55.3 75.1

1986

36.6 61.6 54.7 75.8

1987

37.5 60.8 56.6 76.8

1988

37.9 63.5 59.4 77.0

1989

40.2 63.0 57.2 76.0

1990

36.0 61.7 56.6 75.8

1991

35.7 54.7 56.4 73.0

1992

34.8 56.8 56.2 73.6

1993

34.4 59.0 57.4 74.7

1994

38.1 57.1 60.2 75.1

1995

37.0 58.4 57.0 74.1

1996

38.5 56.1 59.2 75.8

1997

36.2 59.9 59.3 77.1

1998

38.6 59.6 59.7 78.5

1999

39.3 61.6 58.9 77.5

2000

38.6 63.4 61.6 78.6

2001

35.5 60.5 57.5 76.4

2002

34.2 60.1 56.0 74.5

2003

30.9 56.6 57.1 74.1

2004

31.5 57.9 58.5 74.0

2005

31.4 58.3 58.2 75.7

2006

31.8 58.8 55.2 76.0

2007

30.1 58.3 55.3 74.8

2008

27.6 52.1 54.2 72.7

2009

22.7 43.3 49.5 67.2

2010

22.4 47.8 48.6 68.4

2011

22.8 48.5 51.3 69.5

2012

22.6 47.7 49.8 70.4

2013

22.2 47.9 49.4 69.4

2014

24.0 52.4 50.4 71.8

2015

23.7 55.0 47.8 74.4

Note: Data beginning in 1981, 1994, 2001, and 2012 are not strictly comparable with data for prior years because new population controls were introduced from the decennial census. Data beginning in 2006 reflect a change in survey weights and are not strictly comparable with estimates for earlier years.

Young people not enrolled in school were more likely than students to have a job. Among 16- to 19-year-olds, 55.0 percent of those not enrolled in school had a job in October 2015. Among 20- to 24-year-olds, 74.4 percent of those not enrolled in school had a job.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see “College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2015 High School Graduates” (HTML) (PDF). The percentage of a population group that has a job is the employment–population ratio.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Students less likely to work in October 2015 than in the 1980s and 1990s on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/students-less-likely-to-work-in-october-2015-than-in-the-1980s-and-1990s.htm (visited December 14, 2017).

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