But the Labor Day holiday, which dates its earliest beginnings to 1882, is rooted not solely in the need for respite but in the desire to honor the sweat and dedication of the American worker.
With that in mind, today we offer a smorgasbord of information from the Census Bureau about the U.S. worker — the rich and poor, the glamorous and the routine, the backbone of this country.
Who Are We Celebrating?
153.2 million — The number of people 16 and older in the nation’s labor force in July 2011.
84.7 — The percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2009.
26.2 million — The number of female workers 16 and older in management, professional and related occupations. Among male workers, 16 and older, 24.0 million were employed in management, professional and related occupations.
0.9 — The percentage change in employment in the United States between December 2009 and December 2010. Employment increased in 220 of the 326 largest counties (large counties are defined as having employment levels of 75,000 or more).
5.9 million — The number of people who work from home.
Working at Home
8 — The percent of total U.S. workforce that were home-based workers in 2005, an increase from 7 percent in 1999.
8.1 million — The number who worked from home exclusively in 2005, an increase from 6.7 million in 1999.
Another Day, Another Dollar
$47,127 and $36,278 — The 2009 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively.
$1,943 — The average weekly wage in Santa Clara, Calif., for the fourth quarter of 2010, the highest among the nation’s 326 largest counties.
53 — The projected percentage growth from 2008 to 2018 in the number of network systems and data communication analysts. Forecasters expect this occupation to grow at a faster rate than any other. Meanwhile, the occupation expected to add more positions over this period than any other is registered nurses (581,500).
Early, Lonely and Long — the Commute to Work
16.5 million — The number of commuters who leave for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m. They represent 12.4 percent of all commuters.
3.2 million — The number of workers who face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.
— Census Bureau