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Chapter 3. Employment-Related Characteristics

Indicator 25. Employment of 16- and 17-year-old Students

Research suggests that working more than 15 hours per week while in high school can have a negative effect on academic achievement (Singh et al. 2007). Overall, 15 percent of 16- and 17-year-old students were employed in 2009; approximately 8 percent worked less than 15 hours per week and 7 percent worked 15 or more hours per week. In 2009, some 17 percent of female students and 14 percent of male students were employed. There were no consistent overall patterns of change between 1980 and 2009. In the years shown between 1980 and 2000, no measurable differences were found between male and female students in level of employment, even when employment was examined by hours worked per week (less than 15 hours per week and 15 or more hours per week). In 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2008, greater percentages of female than male students were employed.

Between 1980 and 2009, the percentage of 16- and 17-year-old male students who were employed decreased from 35 percent to 14 percent. The percentage of female students who were employed also decreased, from 34 percent in 1980 to 17 percent in 2009.

The percentage of males and females employed for less than 15 hours per week decreased between 1980 and 2009. In 1980, some 15 percent of male students were employed less than 15 hours per week, compared to 7 percent in 2009. Similarly, 15 percent of female students were employed less than 15 hours per week in 1980, compared to 9 percent in 2009.

Between 1980 and 2009, the percentage of male students employed 15 or more hours per week decreased (from 20 to 6 percent). During this same period, the percentage of female students employed 15 or more hours per week also decreased (from 18 to 7 percent).

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25a. Snapshot: Employment of 16- and 17-year-old Students by Race/Ethnicity

In 2009, the percentage of 16- and 17-year-old students who were employed varied by race/ethnicity. The percentage of White students (20 percent) who were employed was higher than the percentages of Black (9 percent), Hispanic (9 percent), and Asian students (6 percent) and students of two or more races (8 percent) who were employed. A higher percentage of White students (10 percent) than Black and Hispanic (4 percent each) students also worked less than 15 hours per week. The same pattern held for students who worked 15 or more hours per week.

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