What Challenges Are Boys Facing, and What Opportunities Exist To Address Those Challenges? Fact Sheet: Employment*. Some Facts About Boys and Employment


Trends in Employment Patterns Among Youth

  • The employment rate for high school boys between the ages of 16 and 18 dropped from 33% in the 1995–1996 school year to 25% in the 2003–2004 school year.(1)
  • From 1968 to 2006, employment rates among African American and White youth have been similar.(2)
  • During the 2006-2007 school year, 21% of boys and 26% of girls between the ages of 16 and 19 were enrolled in school and worked.(3)
  • Of boys and girls between the ages of 16 and 19, 8% were neither enrolled in school nor working during the 2006-2007 school year; this percentage has been relatively stable since the early 1990s.(4)
  • The 2007 summer employment rate for boys and girls was the lowest it has been in 60 years.(5)

Percentage of youths aged 16-19 by enrollment/employment status in school months

Percentage of youths aged 16-19 by enrollment/employment status in school months. See text for explanation of graph.

Source: Youth enrollment and employment during the school year, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008

Where Youth Work

  • According to a 2000 report, the majority of employed boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 17 worked in the retail industry. More boys than girls were employed in goods-producing industries such as mining, construction, and manufacturing as well as in agriculture.(6)

Youth Employment Outcomes

  • Boys and girls who work 20 hours or fewer per week are more likely than other youth to have attained some college education by the age of 30; however, boys and girls who work more than 20 hours per week may be at risk for negative outcomes, such as dropping out of high school, engaging in delinquent behavior, and abusing substances.(7),(8),(9)

Connecting Work with School and Other Activities

  • A 2007 study showed that boys and girls who were employed while in school learned how to more efficiently manage their time, were more motivated, and learned about workplace norms and responsibilities.(10)
  • In 2007, high school boys and girls who took career and technical education classes were less likely to drop out.(11)
  • In 2007, employed high school students spent more time participating in religious, spiritual, and volunteer activities.(12)

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