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Laboring Over Labor Day – More Than You’ll Ever Need to Know

When I was a kid I dreaded Labor Day because it meant summer was over and the first day of school was just two days away. As an adult, I kind of like it.  It represents a day off from work and it still means that school is just two days away. (Sorry, kids.)

So what is Labor Day anyway? We’re betting that most readers don’t even know when or why we celebrate it. Since this blog is devoted to employment and the workforce, we feel a responsibility to shed some light on the subject.

Labor Day celebrates the social and economic achievements of American workers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “it constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of our country.”   Labor Day got its start more than 100 years ago and is believed to have first been celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York Cityas a parade and public exhibition of the trade and labor unions of the day, followed by a day of amusement for the workers and their families. (Some things never change. Keep the BBQs coming.) By 1893, the idea of a “workingmen’s holiday” had spread to more than half the states and Congress passed a bill to establish it as a federal holiday in 1894.  President Grover Cleveland signed the bill and the first Monday in September was designated as the date to celebrate. Thanks, Grover.

Coincidentally, this year – 134 years after its’ inception, we will also celebrate it on Monday, September 5th.

Every year,  the U.S. Census Bureau uses this holiday to release some facts as they relate to the American workforce.   Here are a few to mull over on your Labor Day break.

Who’s Laboring?
158.5 million people, aged 16 or older comprise the U.S.labor force.

Got Benefits?
88.8% of full-time workers 18 to 64 were covered by health insurance.

Put it in my Paycheck
Annual median earnings for men and women who are employed full time, year round are $50,383 and $39,621, respectively.

Keep your Pajamas on
8.1 million people work at home.

 Early, lonely and long
There are 16.5 million early bird workers who leave for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m.; 76.1% of workers drive to work alone, while 10 % are carpooling and the average time to commute is 25 minutes. Extreme commuters who take more than 90 minutes or more to reach their jobs number 3.2 million.

What’s that on your feet?
Oh and by the way, we checked with – who indicates that it’s no longer taboo to wear white shoes after Labor Day – but we say play it safe – maybe just not on the job interview!

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