Happy Labor Day! If you are like us and millions of other Americans, you are trolling the Internet right now in your free time. In other words, you have the day off!
Now, given that Labor Day is traditionally the marker of the end of summer and the beginning of the school year, it is advised that you put your digital device away and go partake in some outdoor activities before things get chilly (which for us down here in Austin, TX will take until about January).
If putting the device down is too much to bear at this exact moment, let us entertain you with some cool data on today’s holiday. You know, so that you can impress your friends when you finally look up from the phone.
Weird/Cool/Random Labor Day Stats
- Labor Day was designated a federal holiday in 1894, by which time more than 50% of the states were already marking the occasion.
- Canada actually beat us to the punch, designating Labor Day as a legal holiday in 1874.
- What sparked the emergence of Labor Day as a national holiday? Well, really long work hours. For most Americans and Canadians, workers used to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, some beginning at age 5.
- In 1916, the Adamson Act set up the 8-hour workday to address long work hours in factories.
- Thousands of workers took an unpaid day off on Sept. 5, 1882 to assemble a parade in New York City as a protest against unfair work hours and wage, thus marking the beginning of the movement for Labor Day as a national holiday.
- Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday in February 1887.
- New York, Colorado, Massachusetts and New Jersey followed shortly thereafter.
- No one actual knows who started Labor Day. Some believe it was Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, who first suggested a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” Others believe it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist, who first proposed the holiday.
- The now traditional Labor Day parade was suggested in the original proposal of the holiday.
- Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, the start of school and the beginning of the football season in the US. It is also occasionally considered the day past which you cannot wear white without causing a fashion faux-pas, though that fashion rule is ceasing in popularity. Also, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, hot dog season begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.
- Many other countries celebrate May Day a holiday very similar to our Labor Day, dedicated to workers’ rights.
- Labor Day is the third most popular day for barbecuing, after July 4 and Memorial Day.
- More beef is consumed on Memorial Day than any other day, with the Fourth of July and Labor Day usually tied for second place.
- The first Waffle House restaurant opened on Labor Day in 1955 in Avondale Estates, GA.
- In 2009, Slow Food USA declared Labor to be a National Day of Action to get healthier food in schools. This, and other campaigning by the organization, helped convince lawmakers to sign the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act.
Want even more Labor Day stats? Check out AAA’s 2014 Labor Day infographic below showing average gas price, number of predicted travelers and more.
Also, be sure to check out the United States Department of Labor’s site about this Labor Day, which graphics and info about where we have come from, what we have accomplished since last year and what we are focusing on before this time next year.