May 25, 2022

New Data Released Today: College Enrollment and Work Activity of Recent High School and College Graduates — 2017

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

In October 2017, 66.7 percent of 2017 high school graduates age 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Among persons age 20 to 29 who received a bachelor’s degree in 2017, 77.6 percent were employed.

Information on school enrollment and employment status is collected monthly in the Current Population Survey (CPS), a nationwide survey of about 60,000 households that provides information on employment and unemployment. Each October, a supplement to the CPS gathers more detailed information about recent degree recipients and school enrollment. In addition to data on recent high school graduates, this release for the first time presents information on recent degree recipients age 20 to 29

Highlights from the October 2017 data:

  • Among recent high school graduates age 16 to 24, women remained more likely to be enrolled in college (71.7 percent) than men (61.1 percent). (See table 1.)
  • Among 16- to 24-year-olds, 41.8 percent of recent high school dropouts were working or looking for work, lower than the labor force participation rate of 67.4 percent for recent high school graduates not enrolled in college. (See table 1.)
  • About 16.3 million people age 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school—42.7 percent of the total. (See table 2.)
  • Among 20- to 29-year-olds, 79.8 percent of recent associate degree recipients, 77.6 percent of recent bachelor’s degree recipients, and 77.5 percent of recent advanced degree recipients were employed. (See table 3.)
  • About one-fourth of recent bachelor’s degree recipients age 20 to 29 were enrolled in school. (See table 3.)
  • Among those age 20 to 29, unemployment rates for recent associate degree recipients, recent bachelor’s degree recipients, and recent advanced degree recipients were 5.6 percent, 8.3 percent, and 11.9 percent, respectively. (See table 3.)

Direct to Report/Data Tables
5 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.