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Five Things You Need to Know About Labor Day

Facts you need to know about Labor Day and America's workforce.

1. Some historians credit Matthew Maguire with proposing the Labor Day holiday in 1882, when he was secretary of New York's Central Labor Union. Others recognize Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, as the founder of the American Labor Day, claiming it was McGuire, not Maguire, who organized workers for the Sept. 5, 1882, parade in New York City.

Either way, Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894—a peace offering by President Grover Cleveland following the deaths of Pullman Strike workers at the hands of the military—and has been celebrated the first Monday of September ever since.

2. There were 153.2 million people in the American workforce as of July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Between December 2009 and December 2010, the national employment rate increased by 0.9 percent, with Elkhart County, IN, experiencing the biggest increase (5.4 percent) of the country's 326 largest counties over the one-year period.

3. There were more women in management, professional and related occupations than men in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While 26.2 million females 16 and older held such jobs, only 24 million males 16 and older did.

4. An estimated 5.9 million Americans worked from home in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. 

5. It takes an average of 25.1 minutes for Americans to get to work, according to the survey. New York and Maryland led the nation in commute time in 2009, averaging 31.4 and 31.3 minutes, respectively.

Pat Brunker September 05, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Peter McGuire is buried right here in Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken off Cove Road. There's a ceremony every year and wreath laying by politicians at the statue and memorial.

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