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Labor Day 2016: Sept. 5

Release Number CB16-FF.14
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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. The parade 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.

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Who Are We Celebrating?

158.5 million

The number of people age 16 and over in the nation’s labor force as of May 2016.

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Our Jobs

Largest Occupations May 2015

Number of employees

Retail salespeople

4,612,510

Cashiers

3,478,420

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

3,216,460

Office clerks, general

2,944,420

Registered nurses

2,745,910

Customer service representatives

2,595,990

Waiters and waitresses

2,505,630

Laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand

2,487,680

Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive

2,281,120

Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

2,146,880

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16.4 million

The number of wage and salary workers age 16 and over represented by a union in 2015. This group included both union members (14.8 million) and workers who reported no union affiliation but whose jobs were covered by a union contract (1.6 million). Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (24.7 percent), and South Carolina had the lowest rate (2.1 percent).

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15.2 million

The number of employed female workers age 16 and over in service occupations in 2014. Among male workers age 16 and over, 11.8 million were employed in service-related occupations.

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1.9%

The percentage increase in employment, or 141.9 million, in the U.S. between December 2014 and December 2015. In December 2015, the 342 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more jobs accounted for 72.5 percent of total U.S. employment and 77.8 percent of total wages. These

342 counties had a net job growth of 2.2 million over the year, which accounted for 81.4 percent of the overall U.S. employment increase.

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Another Day, Another Dollar

$50,383 and $39,621

The 2014 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively. The 2014 real median household income of $53,657 is not statistically different in real terms from the 2013 median of $54,462.

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$74,297

The 2014 median Asian household income, the highest among race groups. The median income of non-Hispanic, white households was $60,256 and for black households it was $35,398. For Hispanic households the median income was $42,491.

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Fastest Growing Jobs

108.0%

The projected percentage growth from 2014 to 2024 in the number of wind turbine service technicians (4,400 jobs in 2014), the projected fastest-growing occupation. Meanwhile, the occupation expected to add the greatest number of positions over this period is personal care aides (458,100).

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Employee Benefits

88.8%

The percentage of full-time, year-round workers age 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2014.

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Say Goodbye to Summer

Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.

25,214

The number of shoe stores for back-to-school shopping in 2014. Also catering to back-to-school needs were 28,138 family clothing stores; 7,898 department stores; 7,351 children and infants’ clothing stores; 6,823 office supply and stationery stores; and 6,888 book stores.

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21,830

The number of sporting goods stores nationwide in 2014. Examples of these types of stores include athletic uniform supply, fishing supply and exercise equipment, as well as bicycle and golf pro shops. In U.S. sports, college football teams usually play their first games the week before Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing its first game the Thursday following Labor Day.

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53,306

The number of travel agents employed full time, year-round in the U.S. in 2014. In addition, there were 15,875 tour and travel guides employed full time, year-round nationwide. On a weekend intended to give U.S. workers a day of rest, many people climb into their drivers’ seats or board an airplane for a quick end of the summer getaway.

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904,084

The number of paid employees (for the pay period including March 12) who worked for a gasoline station in the U.S. in 2014. Oregon (10,629 paid gasoline station employees) and New Jersey (17,411 paid gasoline station employees) are the only states without self-service gasoline stations. Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday in February 1887.

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The Commute to Work

6.3 million

The number of commuters who left for work between midnight and 4:59 a.m. in 2014. They represented 4.5 percent of all commuters. The most common time was between 7 a.m. and 7:29 a.m. – with 20.6 million commuters.

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4.5%   

The percentage of workers age 16 and over who worked at home in 2014.

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76.5%

The percentage of workers age 16 and over who drove alone to work in 2015. Another 9.2 percent carpooled and 0.6 percent biked to work.

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26.0 minutes

The average time it took workers in the U.S. to commute to work in 2014. New York (32.6 minutes) and Maryland (32.3 minutes) had the most time-consuming commutes.

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The following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

African-American History Month (February)
Super Bowl
Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
Women's History Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
      St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
Earth Day (April 22)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Older Americans Month (May)
Mother's Day
Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
Father's Day
The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
Back to School (August)
Labor Day
Grandparents Day
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Unmarried and Single Americans Week
Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day
The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

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