Economic News Release

College Enrollment and Work Activity of High School Graduates News Release


Technical information:  (202) 691-6378      USDL 09-0454
               http://www.bls.gov/cps/
                                            For release:  10:00 A.M. (EDT)
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902      Tuesday, April 28, 2009
                                   
                                   
                COLLEGE ENROLLMENT AND WORK ACTIVITY OF
                      2008 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES


   In October 2008, 68.6 percent of 2008 high school graduates were en-
rolled in colleges or universities, according to data released today by 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

   Information on school enrollment and work activity is collected month-
ly in the Current Population Survey (CPS).  Each October, a supplement to 
the basic CPS gathers more detailed information on employment, unemploy-
ment, earnings, demographics, and other characteristics of the civilian 
noninstitutional population age 16 and  over.  Additional information 
about the October supplement is included in the Technical Note.

Recent High School Graduates and Dropouts

   Of the 3.2 million youth who graduated from high school from October 
2007 to October 2008, 2.2 million (68.6 percent) were attending college 
in October 2008.  College enrollment rates were 71.5 percent for young 
women and 65.9 percent for young men.  (See table 1.)

   The labor force participation rate (the proportion of the population 
with a job or looking for work) was higher for young women enrolled in 
college (46.1 percent) than for their male counterparts (36.0 percent).

   Among recent high school graduates enrolled in college in October
2008, 93.2 percent were full-time students.  The labor force partici-
pation rate was 38.5 percent for full-time students and 75.9 percent 
for part-time students.

   About 6 in 10 recent high school graduates who were enrolled in
college attended 4-year institutions.  Of these students, 31.0 percent
participated in the labor force, while 55.9 percent of recent graduates 
enrolled in 2-year colleges were in the labor force.

   Recent high school graduates not enrolled in college in the fall of 
2008 were more likely than enrolled graduates to be in the labor force 
(76.4 versus 41.1 percent).  The unemployment rate for high school grad-
uates not enrolled in college was 26.7 percent, compared with 14.9 per-
cent for graduates enrolled in college (in either 2- or 4-year institu-
tions.)

   From October 2007 to October 2008, 400,000 persons between the ages
of 16 and 24 dropped out of high school.  The labor force participation 
rate for dropouts (48.4 percent) was lower than for recent high school 
graduates not enrolled in college (76.4 percent).  The jobless rate for 
recent high school dropouts was 39.5 percent.

Youth Enrolled in School

   In October 2008, 56.8 percent of the nation's 16- to 24-year-olds,
or 21.3 million young people, were either enrolled in high school (9.7
million) or in college (11.7 million).  (See table 2.)

                             - 2 -   

   College students were more likely to participate in the labor force
than high school students (54.1 percent compared with 27.5 percent).
Among college students, those attending full time had lower participa-
tion rates than part-time students.  The rate of labor force partici-
pation was higher for female college students (56.6 percent) than for 
their male counterparts (51.2 percent).

   The unemployment rate for high school students, at 21.1 percent in
October 2008, was higher than for college students (8.0 percent).  The 
jobless rate for white high school students was 19.7 percent, which was 
lower than for black high school students (30.5 percent) and for His-
panic high school students (34.8 percent).  Among college students, the 
white unemployment rate of 7.4 percent was below that for black students 
(14.3 percent) and Hispanic students (12.0 percent).

Out-of-School Youth

   In October 2008, 16.2 million persons age 16 to 24 were not enrolled
in school.  Of these out-of-school youth, 79.9 percent were in the labor 
force.  Young men who were not in school were more likely to be working 
or looking for work (85.4 percent) than young women not in school (73.9 
percent).  Labor force participation rates for out-of-school men and 
women were highest for college graduates and lowest for those with less 
than a high school diploma.  (See table 2.)

   The unemployment rate for out-of-school youth age 16 to 24 was 14.2 
percent in October 2008.  Among the educational attainment categories, 
unemployment rates for youth not in school were highest for those with-
out a high school diploma--26.3 percent for young men and 25.0 percent 
for young women.  In contrast, the unemployment rates for young male and 
female college graduates were 8.7 and 6.6 percent, respectively.  Black 
out-of-school youth had an unemployment rate of 23.7 percent in October 
2008, compared with 12.4 percent for whites, 15.1 percent for Hispanics, 
and 7.3 percent for Asians.





                                  - 3 -


Technical Note

   The estimates in this release were obtained from a supplement to the
October 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of about
60,000 households that provides information on the labor force, employ-
ment, and unemployment for the nation.  The survey is conducted monthly
for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Data in
this release relate to the school enrollment status of persons 16 to 24
years of age in the civilian noninstitutional population in the calendar
week that includes the 12th of October.  Updated population controls for
the Current Population Survey are introduced annually with the release of
January data.

   The supplement weights used in estimation were revised with the release
of October 2007 data.  An additional weighting step was added in order to
bring the CPS estimates for persons receiving a high school diploma or GED
more in line with administrative records.  The 2007 and 2008 October supple-
ment data are not strictly comparable with published estimates from earlier 
years.

   Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired
individuals upon request.  Voice phone:  (202) 691-5200; TDD message refer-
ral phone number:  1-800-877-8339.

Reliability of the estimates

   Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling
error.  When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there
is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the "true" population
values they represent.  The exact difference, or sampling error, varies de-
pending on the particular sample selected, and this variability is measured
by the standard error of the estimate.  There is about a 90-percent chance,
or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by no
more than 1.6 standard errors from the "true" population value because of
sampling error.  BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level
of confidence.

   The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error.  Nonsampling error
can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the
population, inability to obtain information for all respondents in the sample,
inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, and
errors made in the collection or processing of the data.

   For a full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and informa-
tion on estimating standard errors, see the Household Data section of the 
"Explanatory Notes and Estimates of Error" at http://www.bls.gov/cps/eetech_
methods.pdf.

Concepts

   The principal concepts used in connection with the school enrollment series
are described briefly below.

   School enrollment.  Respondents were asked whether they were currently 
enrolled in a regular school, including day or night school in any type of
public, parochial, or other private school.  Regular schooling is that which
may advance a person toward a high school diploma or a college, university, or
professional degree.  Such schools include elementary schools, junior or senior
high schools, and colleges and universities.

                                  - 4 -

   Other schooling, including trade schools; on-the-job training; and courses
that do not require physical presence in school, such as correspondence courses
or other courses of independent study, is included only if the credits granted
count towards promotion in regular school.

   Full-time and part-time enrollment in college.  College students are classi-
fied as attending full time if they were taking 12 hours of classes or more (or
9 hours of graduate classes) during an average school week and as part time if
they were taking fewer hours.

   High school graduation status.  Persons who were not enrolled in school at
the time of the survey were asked whether they had graduated from high school.
Those who had graduated were asked when they completed their high school educa-
tion.  Persons who had not graduated, that is, school dropouts, were asked when
they last attended a regular school.  Those who were enrolled in college at the
time of the survey also were asked when they graduated from high school.





   Table 1.  Labor force status of 2008 high school graduates and 2007-08 high school dropouts 16 to 24 years old 
   by school enrollment, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, October 2008
   
   (Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                    
                                                                     Civilian labor force                           
                                                                                                                    
                                        Civilian                                                             Not in 
             Characteristic             noninsti-                           Employed          Unemployed      labor 
                                        tutional           Percent of                                         force 
                                       population   Total  population                                               
                                                                        Total  Percent of  Number    Rate           
                                                                               population                           
                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                    
   Total, 2008 high school                                                                                          
    graduates (1) ....................    3,151     1,644     52.2      1,310     41.6        334    20.3     1,507 
                                                                                                                    
       Men............................    1,640       827     50.4        641     39.1        186    22.5       813 
       Women..........................    1,511       817     54.1        668     44.2        148    18.2       694 
                                                                                                                    
       White..........................    2,521     1,373     54.5      1,114     44.2        260    18.9     1,148 
       Black or African American......      428       202     47.3        148     34.6         54    26.9       226 
       Asian..........................       96        22     23.0         22     23.0        -        -         74 
       Hispanic or Latino ethnicity...      458       246     53.7        185     40.4         61    24.8       212 
                                                                                                                    
     Enrolled in college..............    2,161       888     41.1        756     35.0        132    14.9     1,274 
                                                                                                                    
       Enrolled in 2-year college.....      871       488     55.9        419     48.1         69    14.1       384 
       Enrolled in 4-year college.....    1,290       400     31.0        337     26.1         64    15.9       890 
                                                                                                                    
       Full-time students.............    2,013       775     38.5        662     32.9        113    14.5     1,238 
       Part-time students.............      149       113     75.9         93     62.8         20    17.3        36 
                                                                                                                    
       Men............................    1,080       389     36.0        327     30.3         62    15.9       691 
       Women..........................    1,081       499     46.1        428     39.6         70    14.1       583 
                                                                                                                    
       White..........................    1,785       778     43.6        664     37.2        114    14.7     1,007 
       Black or African American......      235        77     32.6         63     27.0         13    17.4       158 
       Asian..........................       84        15     18.3         15     18.3        -        -         69 
       Hispanic or Latino ethnicity...      292       130     44.6        101     34.7         29    22.2       162 
                                                                                                                    
     Not enrolled in college..........      989       756     76.4        554     56.0        202    26.7       234 
                                                                                                                    
       Men............................      560       438     78.1        314     56.1        124    28.2       122 
       Women..........................      430       318     74.1        240     55.9         78    24.6       111 
                                                                                                                    
       White..........................      736       595     80.8        449     61.1        145    24.5       141 
       Black or African American......      193       126     65.1         85     43.8         41    32.7        68 
       Asian..........................       11         6      (2)          6      (2)        -        -          5 
       Hispanic or Latino ethnicity...      165       115     69.9         83     50.5         32    27.7        50 
                                                                                                                    
   Total, 2007-08 high school                                                                                       
    dropouts (3) .....................      400       194     48.4        117     29.3         77    39.5       206 
                                                                                                                    
       Men............................      191       103     53.9         56     29.3         47    45.6        88 
       Women..........................      210        91     43.4         61     29.2         30    32.7       119 
                                                                                                                    
       White..........................      253       142     56.2         94     37.3         48    33.6       111 
       Black or African American......      117        44     37.6         20     16.8         24     (2)        73 
       Asian..........................       17       -         -         -         -         -        -         17 
       Hispanic or Latino ethnicity...      111        63     56.3         35     31.9         27     (2)        49 

      1 Data refer to persons who graduated from high school between October 2007 and October 2008.
      2 Data not shown where base is less than 75,000.
      3 Data refer to persons who dropped out of school between October 2007 and October 2008.
      NOTE:  Detail for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals
   because data are not presented for all races.  Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be
   of any race.  Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal totals.  Updated population controls
   are introduced annually with the release of January data.  Dash represents or rounds to zero.





   Table 2.  Labor force status of persons 16 to 24 years old by school enrollment, educational attainment, sex,
   race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, October 2008
   
   (Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                    
                                                                     Civilian labor force                           
                                                                                                                    
                                        Civilian                                                             Not in 
             Characteristic             noninsti-                           Employed          Unemployed      labor 
                                        tutional           Percent of                                         force 
                                       population   Total  population                                               
                                                                        Total  Percent of  Number    Rate           
                                                                               population                           
                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                    
       Total, 16 to 24 years..........   37,569    21,931     58.4     19,020     50.6      2,911    13.3    15,637 
                                                                                                                    
   Enrolled in school.................   21,348     8,974     42.0      7,907     37.0      1,067    11.9    12,374 
                                                                                                                    
     Enrolled in high school (1)......    9,677     2,661     27.5      2,099     21.7        562    21.1     7,016 
                                                                                                                    
       Men............................    4,991     1,272     25.5        960     19.2        311    24.5     3,720 
       Women..........................    4,686     1,389     29.6      1,139     24.3        251    18.0     3,297 
                                                                                                                    
       White..........................    7,274     2,153     29.6      1,729     23.8        424    19.7     5,120 
       Black or African American......    1,604       339     21.2        236     14.7        104    30.5     1,264 
       Asian..........................      349        66     18.9         57     16.4          9     (2)       283 
       Hispanic or Latino ethnicity...    1,804       365     20.2        238     13.2        127    34.8     1,439 
                                                                                                                    
     Enrolled in college..............   11,671     6,313     54.1      5,809     49.8        505     8.0     5,358 
                                                                                                                    
       Enrolled in 2-year college.....    3,521     2,229     63.3      2,035     57.8        194     8.7     1,292 
       Enrolled in 4-year college.....    8,150     4,084     50.1      3,773     46.3        311     7.6     4,065 
                                                                                                                    
       Full-time students.............   10,148     5,010     49.4      4,599     45.3        412     8.2     5,137 
       Part-time students.............    1,523     1,303     85.5      1,210     79.4         93     7.1       220 
                                                                                                                    
       Men............................    5,492     2,814     51.2      2,522     45.9        293    10.4     2,678 
       Women..........................    6,179     3,499     56.6      3,287     53.2        212     6.1     2,680 
                                                                                                                    
       White..........................    9,283     5,289     57.0      4,900     52.8        389     7.4     3,994 
       Black or African American......    1,381       630     45.6        540     39.1         90    14.3       751 
       Asian..........................      680       238     35.1        223     32.7         16     6.6       441 
       Hispanic or Latino ethnicity...    1,385       775     55.9        682     49.2         93    12.0       610 
                                                                                                                    
   Not enrolled in school.............   16,220    12,957     79.9     11,113     68.5      1,845    14.2     3,263 
     16 to 19 years...................    3,301     2,253     68.3      1,719     52.1        534    23.7     1,048 
     20 to 24 years...................   12,920    10,704     82.9      9,394     72.7      1,310    12.2     2,216 
                                                                                                                    
     Men..............................    8,465     7,229     85.4      6,028     71.2      1,201    16.6     1,236 
       Less than a high school diploma    1,606     1,204     74.9        887     55.2        317    26.3       403 
       High school graduates, no                                                                                    
        college (3)...................    4,121     3,487     84.6      2,874     69.7        613    17.6       634 
       Some college or associate                                                                                    
        degree........................    1,859     1,696     91.3      1,498     80.6        198    11.7       162 
       Bachelor's degree and higher (4)     879       842     95.8        769     87.5         73     8.7        37 
                                                                                                                    
     Women............................    7,756     5,728     73.9      5,084     65.6        644    11.2     2,028 
       Less than a high school diploma    1,403       697     49.6        523     37.2        174    25.0       707 
       High school graduates, no                                                                                    
        college (3)...................    3,200     2,274     71.1      1,982     61.9        292    12.8       926 
       Some college or associate                                                                                    
        degree........................    1,953     1,629     83.4      1,525     78.1        104     6.4       324 
       Bachelor's degree and higher (4)   1,200     1,128     94.1      1,054     87.9         74     6.6        71 
                                                                                                                    
     White............................   12,485    10,244     82.0      8,971     71.8      1,273    12.4     2,242 
     Black or African American........    2,630     1,878     71.4      1,433     54.5        446    23.7       752 
     Asian............................      435       320     73.7        297     68.3         23     7.3       114 
     Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.....    3,531     2,684     76.0      2,279     64.5        405    15.1       848 

      1 Includes a small number of persons enrolled in grades below high school.
      2 Data not shown where base is less than 75,000.
      3 Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
      4 Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.
      NOTE:  Detail for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals
   because data are not presented for all races.  Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be
   of any race.  Because of rounding, sums of individual items may not equal totals.  Updated population controls
   are introduced annually with the release of January data.




Last Modified Date: April 28, 2009
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