For those age 16 to 24, who also factor into the overall 8.1% jobless rate, the ranks of the unemployed no longer in school are much lower among those with some college than without. Partly, that is an issue of timing, as well as maturity, tied to the early age of high school completion.

However, in both cases, the reality is dismal among the young adults no longer in school:

For those in the labor force — either with a job or in active pursuit of one — 57% of high-school grads with no college (2.9 million of 5.1 million) have found a full-time job.

For labor force members who have attended — and left — college or earned an associate degree, a depressing 64% (2.2 million of 3.5 million) have gained full-time employment.

Among everyone up to age 24 who has left college or earned a two-year degree — including those not actively searching — the full-time employment-to-population ratio has plummeted from 69% in 2000 to 62% in 2003 to 54%.