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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 (a Democrat) signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

The nice folks over at the U.S. Census Bureau have sent over some interesting statistics about just who we are celebrating today:

153.2 million.  Number of people 16 and older in the nation’s labor force in July 2011.

84.7%.  Percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2009.

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.

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). 

Animated_Labor_Day_Text_American_Flag-1md.gif8%.  Percent of total U.S. workforce that were home-based workers in 2005, an increase from 7 percent in 1999.

8.1 million.  Number who worked from home exclusively in 2005, an increase from 6.7 million in 1999.

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.

76.1%.  Percentage of workers who drive alone to work. Another 10.0 percent carpool and 5.0 percent take public transportation (excluding taxicabs).

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.)

3.2 million.  Number of workers who face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.

$47,127 and $36,278.  The 2009 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively.

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Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).

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About Thomas McAdam

At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.

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