Some Key Youth Statistics
The annual average employment rates for teens 16-19 during calendar years 2004 and 2005 were only 36.4% and 36.5%, setting the record for the lowest teen employment rates in the past 56 years. (2005 Summer Jobs Report, Center for Labor Market Studies Northeastern University).
Less than a quarter of employers, only 23.9 percent, report that new entrants with four-year college degrees have "excellent" basic knowledge and applied skills, and important deficiencies exist among entrants at every level. The deficiencies are greatest at the high school level, with only 42.4 percent of employers reporting the overall preparation of high school graduates as deficient. (Are They Ready to Work? Employers Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century Workforce, 2006)
Nationwide, the overall graduation rate for the class of 2001 was 68 percent, with nearly one-third of all public high school students failing to graduate. (Who Graduates? Who Doesn't?, Urban Institute, 2004)
Approximately 16 percent of all young men, ages 18-24, without a high school diploma or GED are either incarcerated or on parole at any one point in time. (Connected by 25: Improving the Life Chances of the Country's Most Vulnerable 14-24 Year Olds, 2004)
In the last decade, approximately 30 percent of students who enrolled in high school have failed to graduate four years later. (Jay P. Greene and Marcus Winters, Public High School Graduation and College Readiness Rates: 1991-2002, Education Working Paper No. 8, Center for Civic Innovation at the Manhattan Institute, 2005, 15, http://www.manhattan-institute.org/pdf/ewp_08.pdf)
The situation is even more dismal for youth of color. In 2003, only 55 percent of African Americans and 53 percent of Hispanics graduated from high school compared with 78 percent of white students. (Jay P. Greene and Marcus Winters, Leaving Boys Behind: Public High School Graduation Rates, Civic Report No. 48, Center for Civic Innovation at the Manhattan Institute, 2006, 10, http://www.manhattaninstitute.org/pdf/cr_48.pdf)
About 3.8 million youth ages 18-24 (15% of all young adults) are neither employed nor in school. (Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count Data Book, 2004)