The vast majority of young adults have participated in paid employment at some point during the first 2 years after scheduled high school graduation. In each cohort, more than 90 percent of young adults reported having worked for pay for some portion of the 2 years.
Among young adults who ever attended a postsecondary institution, the percentage who worked for pay while enrolled was higher in 2006 (78 percent) than in 1974 (63 percent).
Among those who did not enroll in a postsecondary institution, the number of weekly hours worked was higher in 1974 (39 hours) than in 2006 (36 hours).
Among those who did not enroll in a postsecondary institution, relatively fewer had first jobs as clerical and skilled operatives in 2006 than in 1974. Twenty-eight percent worked in clerical jobs as their first job in 1974, and 13 percent did so in 2006. The corresponding figures were, respectively, 21 percent and 10 percent for skilled operatives. The percentage working in service/sales as first jobs rose from 24 percent in 1974 to 44 percent in 2006.