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Posted May 07, 2019 by

Massive unemployment still exists amongst high school and college graduates

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released some fascinating — and depressing — statistics on the state of the job market for students, drop-outs, and recent graduates of the nation’s high schools, colleges, and universities. The findings may surprise you.

Historically, most high school graduates did not go to college. The trend over the past few decades, however, has been that more and more are going to college. By October 2017,

66.7 percent of 2018 high school graduates age 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities. That increased 3.6 percent to 69.1 percent by October 2018. To those of us who value education, that’s a great thing. But to those of us who also value converting that education into a great career, the report contained some bleak news: only 72.3 percent of 20- to 29-year-olds who received a bachelor’s degree were employed, meaning that the unemployment rate for that cohort is about 7.7 times the April 2019, national unemployment rate of 3.6 percent.

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  • More women are in college than men. About 66.9 percent and 71.3 percent of men and women, ages 16 to 24, who graduated from high school are enrolled in college.
  • High school drop-outs are far less likely to work or even be looking for work than those who graduated. Among 16- to 24-year-olds, 47.2 percent of recent high school dropouts were working or looking for work, as compared to the labor force participation rate of 74.0 percent for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college.
  • A majority of young adults are in school. Only 42.8 percent – 16.3 million people – between the ages of 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school.
  • More graduates of two-year colleges are employed than graduates of four-year colleges. Among 20- to 29-year-olds, 75.0 percent of recent associate degree recipients, 72.3 percent of recent bachelor’s degree recipients, and 80.7 percent of recent advanced degree recipients were employed. Maybe that’s why 20 percent of recent bachelor’s degree recipients age 20 to 29 were enrolled in school.
  • Of those graduating from high school, those of Asian descent are 15.4 percent more likely to enroll in college than those who are black. The college enrollment rate of recent graduates was 73.4 percent for Asians, 69.6 percent for whites, 65.5 percent for Hispanics, and 63.6 percent for blacks.
  • About one-third of college students are also employed or looking for work. The labor force participation rates for male and female graduates enrolled in college were 37.3 percent and 35.5 percent, respectively.
  • Very few high school grads who enroll in college attend part-time. Some 90 percent were full-time students. Not surprisingly, only 32.5 percent of full-time students were in the labor force but twice as many – 74.3 percent – of part-time students were.
  • Four-year colleges are still the draw. Some two-thirds of high school grads enrolled in college attended a four-year colleges. Of these, 31.4 were also working as compared to 44.9 percent of those in two-year colleges.
  • Of the 37.9 million between the ages of 16- and 24-years of age, 21.7 million (57.2 percent) were enrolled in high school (9.4 million) or in college (12.3 million).
  • More than a million college students a year graduate with a bachelor’s degree.
  • Between January and October 2018, 1.1 million 20- to 29-year-olds earned a bachelor’s
  • degree; of these, 810,000 (72.3 percent) were employed in October 2018, making the
  • unemployment rate of 12.9 percent about 3.6 times the national, unemployment rate of 3.6 percent in April 2019.
  • The likelihood of graduating from college and being unemployed was virtually the same between men and women: 71.6 percent of men and 72.8 percent of women who recently earned a bachelor’s degree were employed in October 2018. The jobless rates for recent male and female bachelor’s degree recipients were 13.6 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.
  • The job market for those with master’s and higher degrees was definitely better than those with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. Between January and October 2018, 352,000 persons age 20 to 29 earned an advanced degree. Some 80.7 percent of recent grads with advanced degrees were working, as compared with 72.3 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees. In October 2018, the unemployment rate for recent advanced degree recipients was 10.4 percent.
  • Of the 374,000 20- to 29-year-olds who completed an associate degree between January and
  • October 2018, 75.0 percent were employed in October 2018. The unemployment rate for recent associate degree recipients was 9.6 percent.