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Facts for Features
CB11-FF.16
Aug. 10, 2011

Labor Day 2011: Sept. 5

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 “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?

153.2 million

Number of people 16 and older in the nation's labor force in July 2011.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf>

Employee Benefits

84.7%

Percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2009.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p60-238.pdf>

Our Jobs

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

Occupation Number of employees
Teachers (preschool - grade 12) 3,039,523
Computer Operators 101,889
Actors 10,980
Telephone Operators 32,394
Bus Drivers 265,429
Bakers 117,405
Telemarketers 55,733
Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists 395,503
Janitors and building cleaners 1,478,204

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey, Table B24124 <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

26.2 million

Number of female workers 16 and older in management, professional and related occupations. Among male workers, 16 and older, 24.0 million were employed in management, professional and related occupations.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey, Table C24010 <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

0.9%

Percentage change in employment in the United States between December 2009 and December 2010. Employment increased in 220 of the 326 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/archives/cewqtr_06302011.pdf>

5.2%

Percentage change in Elkhart County, Ind., between December 2009 and December 2010, the largest increase in employment among the 326 largest counties. New York County had the highest level increase of 37,500 jobs.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cewqtr_06302011.pdf>

-4.0%

Percentage decline in employment in Manatee, Fla., between December 2009 and December 2010, the largest percentage decrease among the nation's 326 largest counties.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cewqtr_06302011.pdf>

5.9 million

The number of people who work from home.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey, Table B08128 <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

Working at Home

8%

Percent of total U.S. workforce that were home-based workers in 2005, an increase from 7 percent in 1999.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Survey of Income and Program Participation, <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/employment_occupations/cb10-10.html>

8.1 million

Number who worked from home exclusively in 2005, an increase from 6.7 million in 1999.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Survey of Income and Program Participation, <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/employment_occupations/cb10-10.html>

11+ hours

About 11 percent of those who worked at home for some or all of their workweek reported working 11 or more hours in a typical day in 2005. Only about 7 percent of workers who worked outside the home reported doing so.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Survey of Income and Program Participation, <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/employment_occupations/cb10-10.html>

Another Day, Another Dollar

$47,127 and $36,278

The 2009 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p60-238.pdf>

$1,943

Average weekly wage in Santa Clara, Calif., for the fourth quarter of 2010, the highest among the nation's 326 largest counties.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archieves/cewqtr_03292011.pdf>

Hot Jobs

53%

Projected percentage growth from 2008 to 2018 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 (581,500).
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/oco/>

Early, Lonely and Long — the Commute to Work

16.5 million

Number of commuters who leave for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m. They represent 12.4 percent of all commuters.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey, Table B08132 <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

76.1%

Percentage of workers who drive alone to work. Another 10.0 percent carpool and 5.0 percent take public transportation (excluding taxicabs).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey Data Profiles, Selected Economic Characteristics <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

25.1 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 31.4 and 31.3 minutes. (They are not significantly different from each another.)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey, Table R0801 <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

3.2 million

Number of workers who face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey, Table B08012 <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

For detailed information on the data force, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at <http://www.bls.gov/>

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 01, 2014