10 Labor Day Statistics that Might Surprise You

Labor day is a national holiday in the United States and is celebrated the first Monday of every September. This day was created to recognize the American labor force’s achievements that have brought prosperity to the United States. Officially, Labor Day was established by the U.S. Congress to be celebrated by each State of the Union beginning on June 28, 1884.

It is still a mystery as to who initially created Labor Day, but historians believe it might have been Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Others believe it was actually Matthew Maguire, a machinist, who started the holiday.

No matter who started Labor Day, we all see it as a day off from work. A time to gather together with friends and family for a barbecue of hot dogs and cheeseburgers and an impromptu game of baseball or horseshoes.

Labor Day is also a popular time to get out of town for an end of the summer long weekend just before or after school begins. In fact, 25 percent of Americans plan to travel for this holiday.

While we all expect to have fun this Labor Day, are you aware of some surprising statistics surrounding this national holiday when it comes to the current job market and unemployment rates in the United States? Read on to learn about ten Labor Day statistics that may surprise you.

  1. From July 2017 to July 2018, the United States labor force increased by 1.8 million while unemployment rate dropped from 4.3 percent to 3.9 percent. This is great news you can share with your friends over a beer and cheeseburger.
  2. There are currently 162,245,000 civilians in the United States sixteen years of age and older.
  3. Of those 162,245,000 civilians in the United States, there are currently 155,965,000 employed persons and 6,280,000 persons who remain unemployed.
  4. Employment in the United States can be broken down by demographics. Workers who are between the ages of 16 and 19 comprise 5.1 million of the work force. Those between 20 and 24 years of age make up 14.1 million workers. The 25 to 34 range amounts to 35.4 million active works. 35 to 44 year olds have 32.7 million employed in this group. The 45 to 54 age group encompasses 32.3 million employed persons. Finally, those who are 55 or older make up 36.3 million of the work force.
  5. Now, let’s break these statistics down to men and women; 82.7 million men make up 66.3 percent of the work force while 73.3 million make up 55 percent of the work force in the United States.
  6. To take this a step further, we can also look at labor day statistics according to ethnicity. For caucasians, they make up 60.7 percent of the workforce with a total number of 121.5 million. African Americans make up 58.4 percent of the employed with 19.1 million employed in the workforce. Asians are at 61.8 percent with 9.8 million workers in the United States. Finally, the Hispanic and Latino groups make up 63.7 percent of the workforce with 27.2 million employed person.
  7. The median weekly earnings in 2018 for quarter 2 are $962 for men and $779 for women.
  8. According to further statistics, white women earned 82.7 percent as much as white men. African American women earned 89.4 percent as much as African American men. Asian women earned 73.7 percent as much as Asian men. Finally, Hispanic and Latino women earned 88.2 percent as much as their male counterparts.
  9. As for working hours in the United States, 129 million people work full-time while 27 million people work part-time. The average work week for full-time workers is 39 hours, and there are 8.1 million workers in the United States who have more than one job.
  10. When it comes to retirement, 66 percent of retirees actually retired sooner than they expected. 25 percent retired at the age they planned to retire and 8 percent retired later than they anticipated. For those who end up retiring sooner than they planned, 55 percent have no back up plan to replace their lost income.

While Labor Day is a time to celebrate the fruits of our labor, it’s also an important time to take a look at the hard numbers. Where do you place within these statistics? Knowing where you fall within the context of labor statistics can give you insight into where you are and, more importantly, where you want to go. Plus, this gives you something to talk about at the Labor Day barbecue with anyone who loves talking statistics.


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