The first observance of Labor Day is believed to have been a parade on September 5, 1882, in New York City, probably organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenters and Joiners Union secretary. About 20,000 attendees picnicked, smoked cigars, and listened to speeches by the union leadership in Union Square.
By 1893, more than half the states were observing a "Labor Day" on one day or another, and a bill to establish a federal holiday was passed by Congress in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.
The first Labor Day parade marched through
Union Square in New York City, 1882.
Millions more will opt to take advantage of great end-of-season savings at Labor Day sales at local shopping malls coast to coast.
Of course, it's still a serious fashion mistake to wear white after Labor Day. No one knows why, or how it got started, but white is out -- and darker clothes and in -- following the last fling of summer.
AND, finally.... are you ready for some football?
With the season reving up in September, the first official NFL Kickoff game is always played on the first Thursday after Labor Day.
Meanwhile, enjoy the day off with some interesting facts and figures which provide a quick snapshot of what it's like working in America today...
Who Are We Celebrating on Labor Day?
Number of people age 16 or older in the nation's labor force. As of 2012, 53% were men and 47% were women.
Salary & Wages
$47,715 and $36,931
The annual median earnings, respectively, for male and female full-time workers in 2010.
$7.25 per hour
The federal government mandated minimum wage. Some states have set minimum wage levels higher than the federal level, with the highest state minimum wage being $9.32 per hour in Washington as of January 1, 2014.
Where the Jobs Are
Americans worked in a wide variety of occupations in 2010. Here is only a sampling:
Number of employees
Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists
Janitors and building cleaners
Teachers (preschool - grade 12)
The number of Americans who work at home. That's about 4 million more people than in 1999 thanks to Skype and hi-speed Internet connections.
Number of female workers 16 and older in management, business, science, and arts occupations in 2010. Among male workers, 16 and older, 23.7 million were employed in management, professional and related occupations.
Number of labor union members nationwide. About 11.3 percent of wage and salary workers belong to unions, with New York having among the highest rates of any state - 23.2 percent. North Carolina has one of the lowest rates, 2.9 percent.
Long and Winding Road to Work
The average time it takes to commute to work. Maryland and New York had the most time-consuming commutes, averaging 31.8 and 31.3 minutes.
Percentage of workers who drove alone to work in 2010. Another 9.7 percent commuted via carpools and 4.9 percent took public transportation (excluding taxis).
Number of commuters who left for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m. in 2010. Those who work the night shift account for 12.5 percent of all commuters.