Labor Day ... By the Numbers

Enjoy the fruits of your work with a much-needed break — and these fun facts about the federal holiday.

Monday is Labor Day, a federal holiday believed to have started with a parade of 10,000 workers on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City.

So what is the day about? It’s about celebrating the nation’s workforce, which, according to the U.S. Census, numbered roughly 153.2 million people ages 16 and older as of this July.

If you want to know more about the federal holiday (and great excuse for a three-day weekend), here’s a roundup of Labor Day statistics, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Employee benefits

84.7 percent: Percentage of full-time workers ages 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2009.

Our jobs

Americans’ jobs are as varied as we are. Here’s a sample of the common and not-so-common U.S. occupations:

  • Teachers: 3,039,523
  • Computer operators: 101,889
  • Actors: 10,980
  • Telephone operators: 32,394
  • Bus drivers: 265,429
  • Bakers: 117,405
  • Telemarketers: 55,733
  • Hairdressers, stylists or cosmetologists: 395,503
  • Janitors or building cleaners: 1,478,204

Job facts, by the numbers

26.2 million: Number of female workers ages 16 and older in management, professional and related occupations. Among male workers ages 16 and older, 24.0million were employed in management, professional or related occupations.

0.9 percent: Percentage change in employment in the United States between December 2009 and December 2010. Employment increased in 220 of the 326 largest counties in the country.

5.2 percent: Percent change in Elkhart County, IN, between December 2009 and December 2010, the largest increase in employment in the 326 largest counties.

-4.0 percent: Percentage decline in employment in Manatee, FL, between December 2009 and December 2010, the largest percentage decrease among the nation’s 326 largest counties.

5.9 million: The number of people who work from home.

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, CA, for the fourth quarter of 2010, the highest among the nation’s 326 largest counties.

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.

76.1 percent: Percentage of workers who drive alone to work. Another 10 percent carpool and 5 percent take public transportation (excluding taxicabs).

25.1 minutes: The average time it takes people in the nation to commute to work. New York and Maryland had the most time-consuming commutes, averaging 31.4 and 31.3 minutes.

3.2 million: Number of workers who face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.


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