NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Will High-School Grads Shun College For Work?

June 10, 1998

The tight labor market and attractive pay rates may encourage some teen-agers to opt for work rather than a college education, some experts say. But since the latest statistics available are for 1996, they don't yet confirm such a shift.

  • In 1996, some 65 percent of high-school grads enrolled in college in the fall immediately following their graduation, the Department of Education reports.
  • Jobless rates among teenagers have fallen from a high of 23 percent in June 1992 to just 14.2 percent in May.
  • Among high-school graduates who have no college education, unemployment stood at 3.7 percent -- the lowest since the Labor Department began tracking this data in 1992.

While many employers are finding it difficult to locate teens who want jobs, there are also many -- particularly in high-tech sectors -- who worry about future shortages of highly-skilled workers if students do not continue their education after high school.

Source: Lucinda Harper, "Hot Job Market May Melt Teens' Plans for College," Wall Street Journal, June 10, 1998.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues