This study investigates the effects of graduating high school during a recession on real wages, educational attainment, and probability of being in five professional occupation fields, most of them high wage occupation fields. I use data from the 1980, 1990, 2000, U.S. Censuses and the American Community Survey (ACS) from 2001 to 2015 to analyze these outcomes for people of different races and genders who graduated between 1979 and 2015. I estimate the effect of the state unemployment rate during high school graduation and specific recessions. For the case of the 1980-82 and 1990-91 recessions, I include short- and long-term effects on real wages. I find negative and persist effects of graduating from high school during a recession. Adverse labor markets have a stronger negative effect on women and minorities. However, these groups of individuals also recover faster than white men. Although the state unemployment rate hasa small effect on educational outcomes and the probability of being in the occupational fields analyzed in this study, graduating during the actual recession years, especially for the recessions of 1990-91 and 2007-09, influences both educational outcomes and career trajectories.