The CPS is a monthly nationwide survey of about 60,000 households that obtains information on employment, unemployment, earnings, demographics, and other characteristics of the civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over.
Recent High School Graduates and Dropouts
Of the 2.5 million youth who graduated from high school between October 2005 and October 2006, 1.6 million (65.8 percent) were attending college in October 2006. The college enrollment rate of young women, 66.0 percent, was about the same as that of young men, 65.5 percent. Asians were considerably more likely than whites, blacks, and Hispanics to be enrolled in college in the fall following their high school graduation.
Among recent high school graduates enrolled in college, 92.3 percent were full-time students. Of these full-time students, 40.8 percent were in the labor force, either working or looking for work, in October 2006. In contrast, 81.0 percent of part-time college students participated in the labor force.
More than 6 in 10 recent high school graduates who were enrolled in college attended 4-year institutions. The labor force participation rate for these students was 35.0 percent, and their unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. In contrast, 58.8 percent of recent high school graduates enrolled in 2-year institutions were in the labor force, and their unemployment rate was 11.5 percent.
Recent high school graduates who were not enrolled in college in the fall of 2006 were more likely than enrolled graduates to be in the labor force (76.4 versus 43.9 percent). The unemployment rate for those not enrolled in college was 25.0 percent in October 2006, compared with 8.5 percent for their counterparts who were enrolled in college (either 2- or 4-year institutions).
Between October 2005 and October 2006, about 444,000 young people dropped out of high school. The labor force participation rate for these dropouts (51.4 percent) was considerably lower than the participation rate for recent high school graduates who had not enrolled in college (76.4 percent). The unemployment rate for recent high school dropouts (23.1 percent) was about the same as that for recent high school graduates who were not enrolled in college (25.0 percent). Among recent high school dropouts, young men were more likely than young women to be participating in the labor force in October 2006 (56.0 and 45.1 percent, respectively).
Youth Enrolled in School
In October 2006, 20.8 million 16- to 24-year olds were either enrolled in high school (10.3 million) or college (10.5 million). Among high school students, 31.4 percent were engaged in some form of labor force activity in October. Among college students, 49.4 percent of those who were enrolled full time also participated in the labor force, while 85.8 percent of parttime college students were in the labor force.
Overall, the unemployment rate for high school students (14.5 percent)was higher than for college students (5.7 percent). Unemployment rates for black (23.5 percent) and Hispanic (19.3 percent) high school students continued to be higher than for whites (12.2 percent). Among college students, blacks had the highest unemployment rate (11.2 percent), while Hispanic and white college students had rates that were about equal (5.4 and 5.3 percent, respectively).
Of the 16.3 million 16- to 24-year olds not enrolled in school in October 2006, 81.8 percent were in the labor force. Among youth not in school, men were more likely than women to be in the labor force, 87.9 percent compared with 75.1 percent. The difference was greatest among those with less than a high school diploma and diminished with more education.
Unemployment rates for youth not in school were lower among those with higher education levels. The unemployment rates for youths who had college degrees were 7.6 percent for men and 5.0 percent for women. In contrast, youths without a high school diploma who were not enrolled in school had unemployment rates of 12.6 percent for men and 25.9 percent for women.