Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Chapter 7: Postsecondary Outcomes and Employment

Indicator 44: Labor Force Participation

Eighty-five percent of young adults ages 25 to 34 with a bachelor's or higher degree were employed in 2010. The percentage of these young adults who were employed was higher for males than females in that year (89 vs. 82 percent); however, the percentage who were unemployed did not differ measurably between males and females (5 vs. 4 percent).

In 2010, about 73 percent of young adults ages 25 to 34 were employed, 9 percent were unemployed, and 18 percent were not in the labor force. These percentages varied by demographic characteristics such as highest level of educational attainment, sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, and citizenship status.

For young adults who had not completed high school, a higher percentage of males than females were employed in 2010 (63 vs. 40 percent). This pattern by sex also held among Whites and Hispanics with this level of educational attainment. For instance, the percentages for Hispanic males and females were 77 and 42 percent, respectively. A few measurable differences by race in the percentage employed were found among male young adults who had not completed high school, whereas none were found among their female peers. A higher percentage of Hispanic young adults who were born outside the United States and had not completed high school were employed than their U.S.-born peers (66 vs. 49 percent). Among those who did not complete high school, higher percentages of naturalized citizens and noncitizens were employed than their peers who were U.S.-born citizens (66 and 65 vs. 44 percent, respectively).

Among young adults whose highest level of educational attainment was high school completion, 67 percent were employed in 2010 overall, with a higher rate of employment for males than for females (72 vs. 60 percent). This difference by sex was also observed among Whites and Hispanics. For example, 78 percent of Hispanic males with only a high school credential were employed, compared with 58 percent of Hispanic females with this level of education. Concerning racial/ethnic differences, a lower percentage of Blacks who had only completed high school were employed (56 percent) than were their White (69 percent), Hispanic (69 percent), and Asian (67 percent) peers. Differences in the percentage employed were also observed among males. No measurable differences in employment rates were found among females in the various racial/ethnic groups, nor were measurable differences found by nativity or citizenship status.

For young adults whose highest level of attainment was at least a bachelor's degree, 85 percent were employed in 2010 overall, with a higher employment rate for males than for females (89 vs. 82 percent). In addition, higher percentages of White, Hispanic, and Asian males than females with a bachelor's or higher degree were employed. For example, 85 percent of Asian males with at least a bachelor's degree were employed, compared with 67 percent of their female counterparts. In terms of overall racial/ethnic differences, higher percentages of White (87 percent), Black (84 percent), and Hispanic young adults (83 percent) were employed than were their Asian peers (75 percent). Although no measurable differences in employment percentages were observed by race/ethnicity among male young adults with a bachelor's or higher degree, racial/ethnic differences among females generally reflected the overall pattern. Higher percentages of Hispanic and Asian young adults with a bachelor's or higher degree who were born within the United States were employed than were their peers who were born outside the United States (86 vs. 77 percent and 84 vs. 73 percent, respectively). Noncitizens with a bachelor's or higher degree had a lower employment rate than did their counterparts who were U.S.-born citizens and naturalized citizens (70 vs. 87 and 82 percent, respectively).

Thirteen percent of young adults who had not completed high school were unemployed in 2010. There were no measurable differences in this percentage by sex overall or by race/ethnicity. Among the few differences observed among the male and female subgroups, higher percentages of Black males and White males than Hispanic males who had not completed high school were unemployed (20 and 18 vs. 10 percent, respectively). A lower percentage of Hispanic young adults who were born outside the United States and had not completed high school were unemployed than their U.S.-born peers (8 vs. 16 percent). Lower percentages of naturalized citizens and noncitizens were unemployed than their peers who were U.S.-born citizens (8 and 9 vs. 17 percent, respectively).

Twelve percent of young adults whose highest level of educational attainment was high school completion were unemployed in 2010; this percentage was higher for males than females (13 vs. 11 percent). There were no measurable differences by sex in the percentage unemployed within specific racial/ethnic groups. A higher percentage of Blacks who had only completed high school were unemployed (18 percent) than were both their White (11 percent) and Hispanic peers (10 percent). Similar racial/ethnic unemployment patterns were observed among both males and females. U.S.-born citizens with only a high school credential had a higher unemployment rate than their peers who were noncitizens (13 vs. 9 percent); no measurable differences in unemployment were observed with regard to nativity.

Five percent of young adults who had earned a bachelor's or higher degree were unemployed in 2010. A higher percentage of Blacks than Whites with at least a bachelor's degree were unemployed (8 vs. 4 percent); this racial/ ethnic pattern was also observed among females. No other measurable differences were found among bachelor's or higher degree earners across the other demographic characteristics.

Technical Notes

Estimates are for the entire population in the indicated age range, including persons in both households and group quarters. A household includes all the persons who occupy a housing unit. A group quarters is a nontypical household-type living arrangement where people live or stay in a group living arrangement that is owned or managed by an entity or organization providing housing and/or services for the residents. Group quarters include such places as college residence halls, residential treatment centers, skilled nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks, correctional facilities, and workers' dormitories. High school completion includes a high school diploma or an equivalent credential, including a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Labor force status refers to the full calendar week prior to the week when the respondent answered the questions. Born within the United States refers to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas, and those born abroad of American parents.

Top


Figure 44-1 Employment of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose highest level of educational attainment was high school completion, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2010

Figure 44-2 Employment of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose highest level of educational attainment was a bachelor's or higher degree, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2010

Table E-44-1 Labor force status of young adults ages 25 to 34, by highest level of educational attainment, sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, and citizenship status: 2010


  
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.