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Facts for Features
CB10-FF.15
July 7, 2010

Labor Day 2010: Sept. 6

The first observance of Labor Day is believed to have been a parade of 10,000 workers on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary. By 1893, more than half the states were observing a “Labor Day” on one day or another, and Congress passed a bill to establish a federal holiday in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Who Are We Celebrating?

154.4 million

Number of people 16 and older in the nation's labor force in May 2010.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf>

Employee Benefits

83%

Percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2008.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-236.pdf>

78%

Percentage of workers in private industry who receive a paid vacation as one of their employment benefits.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010 Table 640 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Our Jobs

Americans work in a variety of occupations. Here is a sampling:

Occupation Number of employees
Teachers 7.2 million
Chief executives 1.7 million
Janitors and building cleaners 2.1 million
Computer software engineers 1.0 million
Aerospace engineers 137,000
Electricians 874,000
Registered nurses 2.8 million
Social workers 729,000
Clergy 441,000
Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists 773,000
Chefs and head cooks 351,000
Customer service representatives 1.9 million
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 373,000
Firefighters 293,000
Roofers 234,000
Pharmacists 243,000
Machinists 409,000
Musicians, singers and related workers 186,000
Artists and related workers 213,000
Gaming services workers (gambling) 111,000
Tax preparers 105,000
Service station attendants 87,000
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers 751,000
Farmers and ranchers 751,000

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 640 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

7.6 million

Number of workers who hold down more than one job. So-called moonlighters comprise 5 percent of the working population. Of these, 4 million work full time at their primary job and part time at their other job.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 596 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

284,000

Number of moonlighters who work full time at two jobs.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 596 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

10.1 million

Number of self-employed workers.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 592 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

26.4 million

Number of female workers 16 and older in management, professional and related occupations. Among male workers 16 and older, 24.7 million were employed in management, professional and related occupations.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

27%

Percentage of workers 16 and older who work more than 40 hours a week. About 7 percent work 60 or more hours a week.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 589 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

4.1

Median number of years workers have been with their current employer. About 10 percent of those employed have been with their current employer for 20 or more years.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 598 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

10.3 million

Number of independent contractors.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 595 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

16.1 million

Number of labor union members nationwide. About 12 percent of wage and salary workers belong to unions, with Alaska, Hawaii and New York having among the highest rates of any state. North Carolina has one of the lowest rates, 3 percent.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 650 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

-5.3%

Percentage decline in employment in the United States, between September 2008 and September 2009. Employment declined in 329 of the 334 largest counties (large counties are defined as having employment levels of 75,000 or more).
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewqtr.pdf>

-14.5%

Percentage decline in Elkhart County, Ind., between September 2008 and September 2009, the largest decline in employment among the 334 largest counties. Los Angles County saw the largest numerical loss over the period: 278,000.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewqtr.pdf>

1.7%

Percentage increase in employment in Yakima County, Wash., between September 2008 and September 2009, the largest percentage increase among the nation's 334 largest counties.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewqtr.pdf>

5.9 million

The number of people who work at home.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

Another Day, Another Dollar

$46,367 and $35,745

The 2008 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb09-141.html>

$1,506

Average weekly wage in Santa Clara, Calif., for the third quarter of 2009, the highest among the nation's 334 largest counties.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewqtr.pdf>

Hot Jobs

53%

Projected percentage growth from 2006 to 2016 in the number of network systems and data communication analysts. Forecasters expect this occupation to grow at a faster rate than any other. Meanwhile, the occupation expected to add more positions over this period than any other is registered nurses (587,000).
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 605 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Early, Lonely and Long — the Commute to Work

17.7 million

Number of commuters who leave for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m. They represent 13 percent of all commuters.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

76%

Percentage of workers who drive alone to work. Another 11 percent carpool and 5 percent take public transportation (excluding taxicabs).
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

25.5 minutes

The average time it takes people in the nation to commute to work. New York and Maryland had the most time-consuming commutes, averaging 31.6 and 31.5 minutes. (They are not significantly different from one another.)
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

3.5 million

Number of workers who face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

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)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • 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; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: September 09, 2014