U.S. Department of Commerce

Newsroom

Skip top of page navigation
Facts for Features
CB08-FF.13
July 1, 2008

Labor Day 2008: Sept. 1

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?

154.5 million

Number of people 16 and older in the nation's labor force in May 2008, including 82.6 million men and 71.9 million women.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf>

Employee Benefits

82%

Percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2006.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb07-120.html>

77%

Percentage of workers in private industry who receive a paid vacation as one of their employment benefits. In addition:

  • 77 percent of workers receive paid holidays.
  • 15 percent have access to employer assistance for child care.
  • 12 percent have access to long-term care insurance.
  • 71 percent have access to medical care, 46 percent to dental care, 29 percent to vision care and 64 percent to outpatient prescription drug coverage.

Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 634 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

Our Jobs

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

Occupation Number of employees
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 596
<http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>
Teachers 7.1 million
Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists 778,000
Chefs and head cooks 345,000
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 333,000
Firefighters 288,000
Roofers 269,000
Pharmacists 247,000
Musicians, singers and related workers 170,000
Gaming industry (gambling) 111,000
Tax preparers 104,000
Service station attendants 90,000
Logging workers 88,000

7.7 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: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 589 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

When Do They Sleep?

There are about 288,000 moonlighters who work full time at both jobs.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 589 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

10.4 million

Number of self-employed workers.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 585 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

22 million

Number of female workers 16 and older in educational services, and health care and social assistance industries. Among male workers 16 and older, 11.5 million were employed in manufacturing industries.
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

28%

Percentage of workers 16 and older who work more than 40 hours a week. Eight percent work 60 or more hours a week.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 582 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

4

Median number of years workers have been with their current employer. About 9 percent of those employed have been with their current employer for 20 or more years.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 591 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

10.3 million

Number of independent contractors. Other workers with alternative work arrangements include 2.5 million on-call workers, 1.2 million temporary help agency workers and 813,000 workers provided by contract firms.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 588 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

15.6 million

Number of labor union members nationwide. About 12 percent of wage and salary workers belong to unions, with Hawaii and New York having among the highest rates of any state. North Carolina has one of the lowest rates, 3 percent.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 644 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

73.5%

Size of labor force growth in Frisco, Texas, between 2000 and 2005, the highest among cities with populations of 25,000 or more. Frisco was followed by the fellow Texas cities of Cedar Park (growth of 66 percent) and McKinney (52.5 percent), then by Carmel, Ind. (49.9 percent) and Dania Beach, Fla. (45 percent).
Source: County and City Data Book: 2007 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb08-35.html>

74,700

Number of jobs added in Harris County (Houston), Texas, between September 2006 and September 2007, the largest increase in employment among the nation's 328 largest counties.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewqtr.pdf>

5.4 million

The number of people who work at home.
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

Another Day, Another Dollar

$42,261 and $32,515

The 2006 annual median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006, at <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb07-120.html>

$1,585

Average weekly wage in Santa Clara County, Calif., for the third quarter of 2007, the highest among the nation's 328 largest counties. Clayton, Ga., led the nation in growth of average weekly wages the third quarters of 2006 to 2007, with an increase of 24 percent to $919.
Source: 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: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 598 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>

Early, Lonely and Long -- the Commute to Work

16.7 million

Number of commuters who leave for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m. These early birds represent 13 percent of all workers.
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

76%

Percentage of workers who drove alone to work. Another 11 percent carpooled, and 5 percent took public transportation (excluding taxicabs).
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

30.9 minutes

The average time it takes to commute to work for residents of New York state. New York residents had the most time-consuming commute in the nation, followed by that of Maryland residents with 30.6 minutes. The national average was 25.0 minutes.
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

3.1 million

Number of workers who face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

53%

Percentage of workers 16 and older living in Virginia who worked and lived in different counties, the highest rate in the nation.
Source: 2006 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 XLII (Feb. 3)
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day (May 11)
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day (June 15)
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day (Sept. 1)
  • Grandparents Day (Sept. 7)
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week (Sept. 21-27)
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27)
  • 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>.

[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe. This symbol Off Site indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014