According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at least 155.7 million people have a reason to observe Monday as Labor Day.
Based on May 2013 statistics, 155.7 million is the number of people ages 16 years and older who are in the nation’s labor force.
The first observance of Labor Day was credited to a group of 10,000 workers who assembled for a parade on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. Within two years, more than half the states were observing some type of “workingman’s holiday,” but on a variety of days. On June 29, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.
In those early years, the labor force in the United States looked quite a bit different from today’s labor force.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Top 10 largest occupations in May 2012 were as follows: Retail salespeople at 4.3 million; cashiers, 3.3 million; combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, 2.9 million; office clerks, general, at 2.8 million; and registered nurses, at 2.6 million.
Rounding out the Top 10 largest occupations in May 2012 were waiters and waitresses, at 2.3 million; customer service representatives, 2.2 million; laborers and freight, stock and material movers, 2.1 million; janitors and cleaners (excluding maids and housekeeping cleaners) 2 million; secretaries and administrative assistants (excluding legal, medical and executive), 2 million.
In comparison, the labor force in 1910 focused more heavily on the agriculture and industries.
The Top 10 largest occupations in 1910 were farmers (owners and tenants), at 6.1 million; laborers, wageworkers, 2.8 million; laborers, unpaid family workers, 2.5 million; operative and kindred workers, manufacturing, 2.3 million; and laborers, non-manufacturing industries, 2.2 million.
Rounding out the Top 10 largest occupations in 1910 were salesmen and sales clerks, retail trade, 1.4 million; housekeepers, private household (living out), 1.3 million; managers, officials and proprietors, retail trade, 1.1 million; and mine operatives and laborers, crude petroleum and natural gas extraction, 907,000.
Looking ahead to the next five years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 70 percent growth from 2010 to 2020 in the number of personal care aides. Analysts expect the personal care aide occupation to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. The occupation expected to add most positions during this time period is registered nurses.
According to statistics, 76.4 percent of workers drove alone to work in 2011. Another 9.7 percent of them car pooled and 2.8 percent were able to walk to work from home. The average commute time for workers was 25.5 minutes.
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U.S. work force facts and figures
• The real median earnings in 2011 for male and female fulltime, year-round workers was $48,202 and $37,118, respectively.
• A total of 15.9 million wage and salary workers, age 16 and older, were represented by a union in 2012. This group includes both union members (14.4 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.6 million).
•A total of 85 percent of all fulltime workers were covered by health insurance in 2010.
•There were nearly 8,000 actors and more than 3 million teachers working in the United States in 2010.
• An estimated 5.9 million people worked from home in the year 2010.
• In 2010 more than 16 million commuters left for work early in the morning, defined as before 6 a.m.
• In 2010 a total of 3.2 million workers in the United States had a commute of 90 or more minutes each day.