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Why a Day of Rest is Called Labor Day, and Other Labor Day Facts

Eat the hotdogs and close the pool, Labor Day is here again. Ask anyone what we are celebrating on this day, however, and many just aren’t sure. It’s more than a day off, though; it’s a day of honoring the United States workforce. Do you know your Labor Day Facts?

Labor Day began with an organized labor movement in the late 1800’s, when New York City workers gathered together with a parade to celebrate unions. On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers participated in the parade, marching from City Hall to 42nd Street. After the parade, these workers met with their families for a concert, picnic, and speeches in Wendel’s Elm Park.

Here’s some other facts you need to know about Labor Day.

Lots of workers in the US: Today, there are nearly 18 million union members across the US, and an estimated 155 million people in the United States workforce, with many of them getting a day off on the first Monday of September each year. Here’s some interesting Labor Day facts.

Long work week: At the time of the first parade in the nineteenth century, most workers put in twelve-hour days, seven days a week. Luckily, there were dedicated book readers to entertain factory workers during their workday. In 1916, a federal law was passed regulating hours and establishing an eight-hour workday.

Career choices in the 1800’s weren’t very appealing: The rise of automation and machine manufacturing saw the beginning of the end of the skilled craftsmen that had produced products in the past. These machines did give unskilled labor forces a foothold, however, as the machines still required human oversight to perform certain tedious tasks. Since machines worked faster than humans alone, people were forced to work longer hours to keep up with output.

It’s football season: The first Thursday after Labor Day is the unofficial kick-off for the NFL season.

Oregon led the way: While many celebrations occurred locally on Labor Day, Oregon was the first US state to recognize it as an official holiday in 1887.

But the Government wasn’t too far behind: In 1894, Congress passed an act to recognize Labor Day as a federal holiday.

You can wear white after Labor Day: In the past, wearing white after Labor Day was socially unacceptable, as white was traditionally worn by the rich and elite vacationing in their summer cottages. These clothes were packed away in the fall when these vacationers returned to town.  Fashion rules have lifted, but old habits die hard: it’s no longer poor fashion to wear white after Labor Day, but most people do not.

Labor Day marks the end of summer: It’s a Labor Day fact that kids mourn but parents rejoice; Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer as well as the unofficial beginning of the back-to-school season.

Not everyone was meant to have off on Labor Day: Labor Day, as a federal holiday, only covered federal employees. It’s up to each state to honor Labor Day as an official holiday; luckily for us, all states do. That doesn’t mean that all industries enjoy a day off, though. Many jobs including retail workers, emergency responders, and the transportation sector will still have business as usual.

Labor Day marks the end of hot dog season: From Memorial Day through Labor Day, an estimated 7 billion hot dogs (nearly 820 hotdogs per second) are consumed. Labor Day marks the end of the hot dog chow-down season.

The founder of Labor Day is controversial: While no one is entirely certain who first came up with the notion of Labor Day, it’s down to two contenders. The radical Matthew Maguire, from the Machinists Union, is considered by some to have had the idea while others support the idea that the New York City Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners founder, Peter McGuire, was behind the festivities.

Falling into Fall: It’s time for pumpkin spice, pumpkins, and turkeys, and holiday cheer. Labor Day 2020 (September 7) marks the countdown:

  • 54 days until Halloween
  • 80 days until Thanksgiving
  • 109 days until Christmas
  • 116 days until 2021 kicks off

We hope you enjoyed these Labor day facts. Although Labor Day may mark the end of summer, it marks the beginning of back to school journeys and crisp fall days. From the Iconic IT family to yours, have a safe and fun Labor Day celebration.


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