Employment patterns of Hispanic high school graduates without college experience

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Employment patterns of Hispanic high school graduates without college experience
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  The Social Science Journal 39 (2002) 301–307 Employment patterns of Hispanic high school graduateswithout college experience  Philip T. Ganderton a , Richard Santos a , ∗ , Patricia Seitz b a  Department of Economics, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131, USA b  Albuquerque Technical–Vocational Institute, Albuquerque NM 87106, USA Abstract ThisstudyuseslongitudinaldatafromtheHighSchoolandBeyondSurveys(1980–1986)toconstructemployment patterns over a 6-year-period for graduates who did not attend college. Hispanic graduatesare highlighted because less is known about their employment status upon finishing high school. Mostof the high school graduates worked continuously following graduation and periods of not being inthe labor force were more common than unemployment periods. Yet, among Hispanics, nearly half of the women and two-fifths of the men experienced at least one period of unemployment duringthe period under study. Interpretation of the various combinations of labor force activity presents aformidable challenge to researchers; the findings nevertheless provide a better portrayal of the dynamicschool-to-work transition among youth. © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction What happens to high school graduates who do not move into higher education? The neweconomic reality tells us that the prospects for “good jobs” for those without post-secondaryexperience has eroded significantly in the last two decades (e.g., Acs & Danzinger, 1993;Morales, 2000). Moreover, our understanding of the post-high school activities of Hispanicgraduates is particularly sketchy (Tienda, 1995). Most research efforts have been directed tothe study of white and African American youth.We seek to trace the employment patterns of high school graduates who did not attenda post-secondary educational institution; the time frame for the inquiry is the first 6 yearsfollowing graduation. We highlight Hispanic high school graduates without post-secondary  Authors are listed in alphabetical order, with commensurate contributions by each author to the article. ∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: + 1-505-277-2107.  E-mail address:  santos@unm.edu (R. Santos). 0362-3319/02/$ – see front matter © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.PII: S0362-3319(02)00171-4  302  P.T. Ganderton et al./The Social Science Journal 39 (2002) 301–307  education because most research on Hispanic youth concentrates either on the merits of highschool completion relative to non-completion or advantages of a college education. 2. Data and methods Data for the study are drawn from the High School and Beyond (HSB) Survey; the NationalCenter for Education Statistics initiated the survey to obtain longitudinal information on theeducationalexperiencesofstudents. 1 Werestrictedtheanalysistothehighschoolseniorcohort,i.e., those who graduated in 1980, who were interviewed in the 1980 base year and in eachof the follow-up surveys in 1982, 1984 and 1986. The resulting sample of 10,158 individualsrepresents about 85% of the srcinal group of seniors ( n = 11,995).Six years after high school graduation, one-quarter of all seniors had not attended a post-secondary institution, or had attended only one semester. 2 To construct employment patterns,we created indicators of “activity states” for the 6 years following high school graduation.The activity states make use of information on labor market status provided by the survey.Schooling data was used to confirm lack of involvement in higher education. Missing dataon employment activity was substantial for employment “stop and start” dates and reducedthe srcinal sample size of high school graduates to 6,672; concentrating only on high schoolgraduates with no college experience leaves us with a sample size of 1,805.The relevant employment activity states for the present analysis are: (1) working full time,or 35 or more hours per week; (2) working part time; 3 (3) unemployed and looking for work;and (4) out of the labor force (OLF). Activity states for the HSB respondents are determinedeach February for the years 1981–1986. We selected a single month to simplify the patternanalysis; February was used because of its relationship to college enrollment status and allowsdirect comparison with a variable coded in the HSB sample as a validity check. Hence, therespondents’ activity status for the month of February represents their employment status forthe full year, recognizing that during the course of a year respondents may experience multipleactivities. As an example, an employment experience pattern may look like. 3. Employment patterns Approximately three-quarters of the sample respondents experienced a “unique” employ-mentpattern,distinctfromanyotherrespondent.Womenaremoreapttoexhibituniquepatternsthan men; about 45% of Hispanic women had unique patterns versus 30% of Hispanic men.Even with only four states in each of the 6 years, there are 4,096 distinct employment experi-ence patterns possible. To render the analysis more manageable, we grouped patterns into thefollowing summary categories shown in Panel A of Table 1: continuous work patterns—suchas working full time or part time each period, discontinuous work patterns—with at least oneperiod unemployed or OLF, and never employed.As one would expect from high school graduates who did not attend college, employmentis the major activity. Panel A shows that almost every graduate worked either continuously ordiscontinuously during the 6 years after graduation. Very few high school graduates did not  P.T. Ganderton et al./The Social Science Journal 39 (2002) 301–307   303Table 1Post-high school employment patterns of graduates with no post-secondary educationHispanic Black WhiteWomen Men Women Men Women MenPanel A: Summary of patterns 1981–1986 (entries are percentages) a Continuous employment 50.5 64.3 44.7 60.9 54.2 71.7Discontinuous employment 46.4 35.7 50.6 38.7 43.9 28.1No employment 3.1 – 4.7 0.4 1.8 0.2Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0Panel B: Detailed breakdown of continuous employment patternsFull time only 58.7 61.1 57.9 56.3 58.7 65.9Part time only 1.0 1.6 6.6 5.3 4.9 2.4Transitional patterns b Subtotal 14.1 9.5 13.2 15.2 14.0 11.71 year part time 4.0 4.8 1.3 4.0 5.3 3.7 ≥ 2 years part time 10.1 4.8 11.8 11.3 8.7 8.0Non-directional patterns c Subtotal 26.2 27.8 22.4 23.1 22.4 20.01 year part time 13.1 11.9 5.3 9.3 9.5 6.4 ≥ 2 years continuous part time 10.1 12.7 15.8 11.2 6.8 9.1Other patterns 3.0 3.2 1.3 2.6 6.1 4.5Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0Panel C: Detailed breakdown of discontinuous employment patternsTransitional patterns d Subtotal 18.7 22.9 24.7 16.7 14.0 14.3U into continuous employment 13.2 10.0 12.9 7.3 7.0 8.1OLF into continuous employment 3.3 12.9 7.1 8.3 6.5 6.1U & OLF 2.2 – 4.7 1.0 0.5 –Non-directional patterns e Subtotal 81.3 77.1 75.3 83.3 86.0 85.7Unemployment onlySubtotal 22.0 25.7 25.9 35.4 15.9 40.81 year only 15.4 17.1 11.8 22.9 12.1 33.3 ≥ 2 years 6.6 8.6 14.1 12.5 3.7 7.5OLF onlySubtotal 45.1 42.9 38.8 35.4 15.9 40.81 year only 15.4 27.1 11.8 16.7 22.9 26.5 ≥ 2 years 29.7 15.7 27.1 21.9 32.2 12.9Unemployment & OLFSubtotal 14.3 8.6 10.6 9.4 15.0 5.4Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0Panel D: Summary of unemployment and OLF activities (Panel C data)1 year unemployment 38.5 27.1 28.2 34.4 29.4 43.5 ≥ 2 years unemployment 13.2 17.1 25.9 18.8 8.9 10.9  304  P.T. Ganderton et al./The Social Science Journal 39 (2002) 301–307  Table 1 ( Continued  )Hispanic Black WhiteWomen Men Women Men Women MenTotal unemployment 51.6 44.3 54.1 53.1 38.3 54.41 year OLF 24.2 42.9 25.9 27.1 34.1 34.7 ≥ 2 years OLF 38.5 21.4 35.3 30.2 43.0 16.3Total OLF 62.6 64.3 61.2 57.3 77.1 51.0Sample size in each group 196 196 170 248 487 523 a Continuous employment is defined as always working, part time or full time, from 1981 to 1986. Discontinuousemployment refers to at least one period of unemployment (U) or one period OLF. b Transitionalpatternsofcontinuousemploymentarecharacterizedbyaninitialperiodofpart-timeworkfollowedby continuous full-time work. c Non-directional patterns of continuous employment are defined by periods of part-time and full-time work withno implied sequence (e.g., 2 years full time followed by 1 year part time then 3 years full time). d Transitional patterns of discontinuous employment are characterized by an initial period of unemployment orOLF followed by continuous work, part time or full time. e Non-directional patterns of discontinuous employment are defined as combinations of employment, unemploy-ment, and OLF with no implied sequence. work at all during the 6 years ranging from 5% among black women to less than 1% for men,irrespective of race. Men were more likely to exhibit continuous employment than women.Comparing racial groups, whites had the highest employment participation, Hispanics hadlower participation rates and blacks showed the lowest participation rates.Panel B of Table 1 provides more detailed information on patterns of employment, eitherfull time or part time, for high school graduates continuously employed during the 6 years of the study. For these respondents full-time work is the dominant pattern. White men were themostlikelyhighschoolgraduatesworkingfulltimeforthe6yearsfollowinggraduation(66%).Hispanic men had the second highest proportion (61%) and the rate of continuous full-timeemployment among Hispanic women was similar (59%) to white women. Black women andmenhadthelowestproportion(58and56%,respectively)offull-timecontinuousemployment.Notably, gender differences for full-time workers of color are negligible.Continuous part-time work is rarely observed. Black women and men, and white women,had the highest proportion (5–7%) of those working part-time continuously, followed by whitemen, Hispanic men, and Hispanic women.The lower part of Panel B provides a break down of work patterns for those without con-tinuous full- or part-time work over the study period. We identify transitional patterns: thosein which high school graduation is followed first by part-time work, then full-time work. Themajority of those exhibiting this kind of employment experience spend 2 or more years onpart-time work before moving to full-time work. An even greater number of graduates who didnothavecontinuouspart-timeorfull-timeemploymentfollowedwhatwecallanon-directionalpattern, in which respondents switch between part-time and full-time employment, but in noparticular direction, often switching back-and-forth between states.Panel C of Table 1 lists patterns for high school graduates who worked between 1981and 1986 and experienced at least one period of unemployment and/or one period OLF. Two  P.T. Ganderton et al./The Social Science Journal 39 (2002) 301–307   305 types of patterns are presented to simplify the analysis for discontinuous employed gradu-ates: transitional patterns, which are characterized by an initial period(s) of unemployment orOLF followed by continuous employment, and non-directional patterns, which are defined asnon-transitional patterns in which the person switches between employment, unemploymentand OLF activities with no implied sequence.Transitionalpatternswerelessoftenobservedthannon-directionalpatterns;aboutone-fourthof black women, one-fifth of Hispanics and about one-seventh of black men and whites hadan initial period of unemployment or OLF followed by continuous employment. Among thosegraduates with non-directional discontinuous employment, (varying combinations of employ-ment, unemployment, and OLF activities with no implied sequence) the modal pattern is atleast one period of OLF. White women had the highest proportion (45%) of discontinuousemployment due to time OLF; Hispanic men and women had the second highest proportion(about 43–45%) with the same pattern. For black men and women, the proportion with dis-continuous employment and at least one period of OLF were similar, 39%. The only exceptionto this pattern being the most observed are white men, who were equally (about 40%) likelyto have employment broken by unemployment as leaving the workforce completely. Whitewomen were the least likely (16%) to have their employment broken by unemployment ratherthan leaving the workforce.A summary by years of unemployment and OLF for discontinuously employed high schoolgraduates is presented in Panel D of Table 1 and gives even more detail on the data providedin Panel C of the table. During the 6 years after high school graduation, no labor force activity(OLF)appearstobeamorefrequentcontributortodiscontinuousemploymentthanunemploy-ment.Anexceptioniswhitemenwhoseemploymentwereslightlymorelikelytobeinterruptedby unemployment periods than OLF. In general, women had a higher incidence of OLF thanmen, except for Hispanics for whom gender differences are marginal. White women were themost likely to have employment affected by leaving the labor force (OLF) as well as being themost likely with 2 or more years out of the labor force.For graduates showing discontinuous employment, the majority had at least 1 year of unemployment; with the exceptions being Hispanic men (44%) and white women (38%).Furthermore, minority graduates were more likely than whites to incur 2 or more years of unemployment—ranging from 26% for black women to 13% for Hispanic women, comparedto 11% and 9% for white men and women. 4. Summary and conclusions Although the recession years in the early 1980s make it difficult to generalize about thepatterns of employment after high school graduation to more recent periods, some conclusionscan be drawn about the employment transitions of non-college bound high school graduatesand the experiences of Hispanic high school graduates during the 1980s.Most high school graduates, not college bound, worked continuously in the years follow-ing graduation. Of those with continuous employment, full-time work is the modal pattern.Notably, gender differences discovered between the continuous and discontinuous employ-ment distinction diminish when full-time continuous work is examined, except for whites.
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