History of Labor Day

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 6, 2010 | Go to article overview

History of Labor Day


The first Labor Day was observed more than 100 years ago on Sept. 5, 1882, with a parade of 10,000 workers in New York City. Labor Day was designed to be a "working man's holiday." Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday in 1887; in 1894, Congress passed legislation making the first Monday in September a federal holiday. For current facts on American workers, see Page 9.

The American work force

154.4 million: Number of people 16 and older in the nation's labor force in May 2010

7.6 million: Number of workers who hold down more than one job

10.1 million: Number of self-employed workers

26.4 million: Number of female workers 16 and older in management, professional and related occupations 27: Percentage of workers 16 and older who work more than 40 hours a week

16.1 million: Number of labor union members nationwide

5.9 million: The number of people who work at home

$46,367 and $35,745: The 2008 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively

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