Labor Day Special Report 2014



The first observance of Labor Day is believed to be on Sept. 5, 1882, when an estimated 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. That celebration inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “working men’s holiday” on one day or another. Later that year, with Congress passing legislation and President Grover Cleveland signing the bill on June 29, the first Monday in September was designated “Labor Day.” This national holiday is a creation of the labor movement in the late 19th century and pays tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

The following information is presented in observance of Labor Day. Unless noted otherwise, the information is from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Largest Occupations as of May 2013

Number of Employees

Retail salespeople 4,485,180
Cashiers 3,343,470
Combined food preparation and serving workers,
including fast food
Office clerks, general 2,832,010
Registered nurses 2,661,890
Waiters and waitresses 2,403,960
Customer service representatives 2,389,580
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 2,284,650
Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal
medical, and executive
Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupations with the Highest Employment, May 2013

Largest Occupations in 1910

Number of Employees

Farmers (owners and tenants) 6,132,000
Farm laborers, wageworkers 2,832,000
Farm laborers, unpaid family workers 2,514,000
Operatives and kindred workers, manufacturing 2,318,000
Laborers, nonmanufacturing industries 2,210,000
Laborers, manufacturing 1,487,000
Salesmen and sales clerks, retail trade 1,454,000
Housekeepers, private household – living out 1,338,000
Managers, officials, and proprietors, retail trade 1,119,000
Mine operatives and laborers, crude petroleum and
natural gas extraction

Sources: Statistical Abstract, Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, Chapter D: Labor, Part 1, Page 20 of pdf, Series D 233-682. Detailed Occupation of the Economically Active Population: 1900 to 1970 


Percentage of workers 16 and over who worked from home in 2012.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey, Table B08128

25.7 minutes

The average time it took workers in the U.S. to commute to work in 2012. Maryland and New York had the most time-consuming commutes, both averaging about 32 minutes.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey, Table R0801


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