Contrary to some speculation, the Great Recession did not push high school graduates to "hide out" in college to avoid the weak labor market. That, along with the lack of job opportunity, left many graduates "idle" — not in college and without a job, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute.

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Data: Economic Policy Institute; Note: Data reflects 12-month rolling average of high school graduates age 17–20 who may have previous college experience. "Not employed" includes those who are unemployed and those who are not in the labor force; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: Education and/or work experience are the two biggest selling points for employers, which means many of the students who graduated during the recession could face more difficulty in pursuing a career.

Gender gap: Before the recession, women were more likely to be idle than men (though the gap was closing). Right after the recession, men became more likely to be out of a job and not in college.

Race gap: White, black and Hispanic graduates had an increase in idleness after the recession, and only young black graduates returned to where they were before. But while 20.2 percent of young black high school graduates and 17.7 percent of Hispanic graduates are out of school and a job now, only 13.1 percent of white high school graduates are in that situation.

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