In Honor of Labor Day
Many Americans view Labor Day as a final celebration of summer. The occasion, however, did not start out that way. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 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. By 1894, more than half the states were observing a "workingmen's holiday" on one day or another, so President Grover Cleveland signed a bill to officially designate the first Monday in September as "Labor Day."
In the spirit of the holiday’s original intention – to pay tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers – here are some interesting facts from the U.S. Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics about modern employees:
- There were 155.7 million people age 16 and over in the nation’s labor force in May 2013.
- The 2011 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers was $48,202 and $37,118, respectively.
- 84.7% of full-time workers ages 18 to 64 were covered by health insurance during all or part of 2011.
- 5.7 million commuters left for work between midnight and 4:59 a.m. in 2011. They represented 4.3 percent of all commuters.
- It took U.S. workers an average of 25.5 minutes to commute to work in 2011.
- In 2012, on days they worked, 23 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home.
- The labor force participation rate (the percentage of the population working or looking for work) for all mothers with children under age 18 was 70.5 percent in 2012. About 29 percent of employed mothers with children under age 6 worked part time in 2012, compared with 23 percent of employed mothers with children ages 6 to 17.
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