The first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. That celebration inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another. Later that year, with Congress passing legislation and President Grover Cleveland signing the bill on June 29, the first Monday in September was designated “Labor Day.” This national holiday is a creation of the labor movement in the late 19th century—and pays tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers.
WHO ARE WE CELEBRATING?
- 155.7 million: Number of people 16 and over in the nation’s labor force in May 2013.
- 847,516: The number of paid employees (for pay period including March 12) who worked for a gasoline station in the U.S. in 2011. Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday in February 1887. Oregon (9,634 paid gasoline station employees), along with New Jersey (15,734 paid gasoline station employees), are the only states without self-service gasoline stations.
- 15.9 million: The number of wage and salary workers age 16 and over represented by a union in 2012. This group includes both union members (14.4 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.6 million).
- 14.5 million: Number of female workers 16 and over in service occupations in 2011. Among male workers 16 and over, 11.2 million were employed in service-related occupations.
- 1.9 percent: Percentage increase in employment in the U.S. between December 2011 and December 2012. Employment increased in 287 of the 328 largest counties (large counties are defined as having employment levels of 75,000 or more).
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DOLLAR
- $48,202 and $37,118: The 2011 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively.
FASTEST GROWING JOBS
- 70 percent: Projected percentage growth from 2010 to 2020 in the number of personal care aides (607,000). Analysts expect this occupation to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Meanwhile, the occupation expected to add more positions over this period than any other is registered nurses (711,900).
- 84.7 percent: Percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2011.
THE COMMUTE TO WORK
- 5.7 million: Number of commuters who left for work between midnight and 4:59 a.m. in 2011. They represented 4.3 percent of all commuters.
- 4.3 percent: Percentage of workers 16 and over who worked from home in 2011.
- 76.4 percent: Percentage of workers 16 and over who drove alone to work in 2011. Another 9.7 percent carpooled and 2.8 percent walked from home.
- 25.5 minutes: The average time it took workers in the U.S. to commute to work in 2011. Maryland and New York had the most time-consuming commutes, averaging 32.2 and 31.5 minutes, respectively.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau