In October 2015, 57.0 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds, or 21.9 million young people, were enrolled in high school or college. Among these students, nearly a quarter of 16- to 19-year-olds and nearly half of 20- to 24-year-olds had a job in October. Both figures were about the same as in October 2014 but well below their peaks. Among students ages 16 to 19, 40.2 percent worked in October 1989, compared with 23.7 percent in October 2015. Among students ages 20 to 24, 61.6 percent worked in October 2000, compared with 47.8 percent in October 2015.
Young people not enrolled in school were more likely than students to have a job. Among 16- to 19-year-olds, 55.0 percent of those not enrolled in school had a job in October 2015. Among 20- to 24-year-olds, 74.4 percent of those not enrolled in school had a job.
These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see “College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2015 High School Graduates” (HTML) (PDF). The percentage of a population group that has a job is the employment–population ratio.