Fewer high school grads finding full-time work

Wednesday , June 06, 2012 - 3:56 PM

Aki Ito

SAN FRANCISCO - Fewer than two in 10 recent high school graduates have a full-time job, a survey found, highlighting the difficulties young workers without a college degree are facing as the economic expansion enters its fourth year.

Among students who graduated in 2009 through 2011, 16 percent are employed full time compared with 37 percent for those who earned a high school diploma from 2006 through 2008, a study released by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University showed.

The figures show the youngest, least-educated workers are still suffering after the end of the last recession in June 2009. Pessimism is widespread among high school graduates today, with 56 percent saying they will probably be less financially successful than the previous generation, while 14 percent said they will be more successful, the study said.

High school graduates earned a median $7.50 per hour, or 25 cents above the federal minimum wage, in their first job, the report found. Almost half of those without work have been actively seeking work for more than six months, with 29 percent reporting that they have been looking for a job for longer than a year, according to the survey.

"With this combination of temporary, low-wage work, it is likely that few of the recent high school graduates would have been able to earn an annual income of $10,890 to exceed the official federal poverty level for a single household," Carl E. Van Horn, Cliff Zukin, Mark Szeltner and Charley Stone wrote in the study. "There is tremendous pessimism among high school graduates about what the future holds for them."

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