Temperatures may not show signs of cooling down yet, but days are getting shorter. School is either fast approaching or already back in session. And we’re already beginning to see merchandise for fall holidays on store shelves. But, we still have Labor Day weekend! Labor Day is a chance to have one last shot at summer for most of us. However, this federal holiday is also meant to celebrate the work force. Here are 10 fun facts about Labor Day and how we celebrate in the United States.
- The idea for Labor Day actually originated in Canada, but made its way down to the United States.
- The first US Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. Though many workers now get the day off, over 10,000 people took unpaid leave in order to celebrate. The festivities began with a march through Manhattan to celebrate and recognize laborers. The celebration also included a concert, speeches, and a picnic.
- Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday in 1887. Other states followed suit until the federal government came in to play. Grover Cleveland established Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1894. However, most states were already officially celebrating it by that time.
- Nearly half of Americans barbecue over Labor Day weekend.
- Where Labor Day represents the end of summer, Memorial Day celebrates the beginning. In the months between the two holidays, Americans will eat 818 hot dogs every second.
- Many Americans see the 3-day weekend as a chance to travel. The top 5 most popular Labor Day destinations include New York City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago, and Las Vegas.
- Labor Day came about in part from mass dissatisfaction and protests about the conditions of laborers in the US. In the late 1800s the average American worked 12-hour days, 7 days a week to make a living. The simplified 8-hour, 5 days a week schedule we now enjoy was established in 1916.
- Celebrating the United States work force also means celebrating our country’s small businesses. Since 2007, small businesses have created 62 percent of all new private-sector jobs.
- The number of self-employed Americans is looking to triple to 42 million people by 2020.
- More people in the United States are working now than in previous years. The unemployment rate is down to 4.3%.
And, now you know! Why not challenge friends and family to see how many of these fun facts about labor day they know.