National Institute on Aging

Racial Differences in Employment Status of College Students and Recent Graduates

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data on the employment of recent high school and college graduates. More than 62 percent of 2022 high school graduates were enrolled in college in October 2022. For African American 2022 high school graduates, 64 percent were enrolled in college by October 2022 compared to 62 percent of White high school graduates that year. For 2022 high school graduates enrolled in college, 20.6 percent of Blacks were also working compared to 29.1 percent of Whites.

For all people 16 to 24 years of age, 11,606,000 were enrolled in college. Of these, 1,589,00, or 13.7 percent, were Black. About 40 percent of all Blacks in this age group who were enrolled in college also held a job. For Whites in this age group who were enrolled in college, 46 percent also held a job.  The unemployment rate for Black college students in this age group was 5.7 percent, compared to 4.9 percent of their White peers. The unemployment rate is calculated by taking the number of people actively seeking a job but are unable to find one.

For people 20 to 29 years of age, Blacks made up 11 percent of all students who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2022. Some 83.6 percent of these recent African American college graduates were employed compared to 81.1 percent of Whites. But 8.7 percent of 2022 African American college graduates in this age group were unemployed, compared to 5.5 percent of White college graduates in this age group.

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