Millions of Americans view Labor Day as the unofficial last day of summer. Sports fans recognize it as the start of football season. Yet it is also a day to honor the workers across all professions who power the world’s largest economy. Following are seven interesting facts about the holiday.
- Why can’t we wear white after Labor Day?
While ignored by many today, the fashion industry has long held that Labor Day is the last day of the year to wear white clothing, with darker fall and winter colors taking precedence thereafter. Some believe that white clothes were more popular in summer as it is more comfortable during hot weather, especially for those without air conditioning. Others believe that white was seen as more casual and was thus to be worn during vacationing and holidays in the summer. Plus, fashion marketers capitalize on the end of summer by encouraging the purchase of new clothing as the seasons change.
- Labor Day grew out of the labor movement of the 19th Century
During the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, a movement supporting the rights and working conditions of industrial laborers appeared in the U.S. and Europe. Advocates for workers’ rights saw an annual Labor Day observance as a way to advance their cause. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1885 on the municipal level. Oregon became the first state to recognize the day in 1887. On June 28, 1894, the U.S. Congress designated the first Monday of September as a national holiday.
- Labor Day is celebrated in other countries, but on a different day
In many countries, Labour Day is celebrated on May 1 and is linked with International Worker’s Day, an observance especially popular in communist and socialist countries.
- 10 hours a day, seven days a week
In the 1880s, a little over 50% of the workforce was employed in agriculture. Industry comprised almost 25% of the labor market, while services employed about another quarter of the workers. The average workday in manufacturing was about 10 hours, according to an estimate from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Child labor, while common for centuries in family farms and businesses, would soon become a major social issue due to child employment in factory settings. In 1900, 18% of all American workers were less than 16 years old.
- Some retailers claim Labor Day is the second biggest shopping day of the year
Retailers have been pushing Labor Day weekend sales for decades. While not as big of a shopping day as Black Friday overall, prices for school supplies, appliances or summer clothing are often the best of the year on Labor Day. Check out this article comparing Black Friday and Labor Day.
- There are now 159 million workers in the civilian labor force in the U.S.
A U.S. Department of Labor report just released on Friday showed that unemployment is at 4.9%, one of the lowest figures since the Great Recession at the end of the last decade. The labor force participation rate is 62.8%. The average workweek is 34.3 hours. By comparison, in the 1880s, the entire American population was only slightly more than 50 million.
- Cal State Fullerton is closed on Labor Day
No need to come to campus for classes on Monday. All classes are cancelled for the Labor Day holiday, and all offices on campus will also be closed. So enjoy a welcome three-day weekend after a hectic first two weeks of school.