In October 2017, 57.3 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds, or 21.8 million youth, were enrolled in high school (9.7 million) or in college (12.1 million). High school students continued to be less than half as likely as college students to participate in the labor force (22.8 percent, compared with 49.5 percent). In both high school and college, female students are more likely to participate in the labor force than male students.
Labor force participation rates of people ages 16 to 24 by their school enrollment status, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, October 2017
Enrolled in high school
Enrolled in college
Not enrolled in school
The labor force participation rate was lower for Asian college students (32.7 percent) than for Black (46.9 percent), Hispanic (53.9 percent), and White (52.4 percent) college students.
In October 2017, 16.3 million people ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school. The labor force participation rate of youth not enrolled in school, at 79.5 percent, changed little over the year. Among youth not enrolled in school in October 2017, young men continued to be more likely than young women to participate in the labor force (83.4 percent, compared with 75.2 percent).
These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see “College Enrollment and Work Activity of Recent High School and College Graduates — 2017” (HTML) (PDF). People whose ethnicity is Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.