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What is the significance of Labor Day in the United States? - Answers

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What is the significance of Labor Day in the United States?

US Map depicting mean hourly wage in each state

Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Labor Day in the United States of America is celebrated annually on the first Monday in September. The federal holiday which avails a long weekend to Americans, is a national tribute to workers that have contributed towards the establishment of a prosperous economy. It also honors the brave laborers who during the time of Industrial Revolution, stood united and raised their voice against injustice, and brought well-being into the lives of people for years to come.

The establishment of Labor Day can be traced back to the 1800s, when the USA was focused on industrialization. Today, the average American works for only 7 to 9 hours a day, but in the 19th Century, laborers put in more than 12 hours per day. To make it worse, young children were forced to work in mills and factories across the country, yet earning only a fraction of the wages given to adults. Even some of the adults, especially who were poor and recent immigrants, had to work in unsafe environments. Often, they did not have sufficient access to fresh air and sanitary facilities. This led to formation of labor unions, which organized strikes and rallies for better wages, reduced hours and healthier environment conditions.

Speculation still remains regarding the founder of Labor Day. Many records suggest that it was Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, who proposed a day to honor the working population. However, as per recent researches, many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, and then-secretory of Central Labor Union (CLU) in New York was the one to submit the proposal. On September 5th,1882, the first effective labor organization ‘Knights of Labor,’ under auspices of CLU celebrated the first Labor Day, with a parade in New York City. However, it was few years later, on June 28, 1989, that Congress passed an act declaring first Monday in September of each year, as a legal national holiday.

As of 2017, California has the largest employed population, accounting for 16,695,010 people.
Out of all the occupational sectors, Office and Administrative Support Occupations have highest number of workers, at 2,484,780. Today an average person in the US is paid $24.34 per hour, thanks to the historical labor movement.

Unofficially the holiday marks an end of summer. Parades, parties, fireworks and numerous athletic events are held, and there are no Monday blues.

Here we give a quick glance to the current employment status of working population in the USA:

May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
State Employment Employment RSE Median hourly wage Mean hourly wage Annual mean wage Mean wage RSE
Alabama 1,922,570 0.4% $15.77 $20.76 $43,170 0.5%
Alaska 318,170 0.9% $22.86 $27.77 $57,750 0.7%
Arizona 2,704,050 0.5% $17.44 $23.15 $48,160 0.7%
Arkansas 1,200,130 0.7% $14.82 $19.49 $40,530 1.5%
California 16,695,010 0.2% $19.70 $27.50 $57,190 0.4%
Colorado 2,555,300 0.3% $19.66 $25.99 $54,050 0.5%
Connecticut 1,654,420 0.8% $22.05 $28.56 $59,410 0.9%
Delaware 442,690 1.1% $18.68 $25.10 $52,200 1.6%
Florida 8,419,030 0.4% $16.07 $21.53 $44,790 0.4%
Georgia 4,303,530 0.3% $16.85 $22.69 $47,200 0.5%
Hawaii 632,990 1.1% $20.02 $25.02 $52,050 1.9%
Idaho 685,630 0.8% $15.99 $20.31 $42,240 0.9%
Illinois 5,927,860 0.3% $18.69 $25.20 $52,410 0.6%
Indiana 3,018,490 0.5% $16.63 $21.13 $43,950 0.5%
Iowa 1,535,460 0.6% $17.27 $21.50 $44,730 0.7%
Kansas 1,369,110 1.0% $16.90 $21.43 $44,570 0.6%
Kentucky 1,876,430 0.6% $16.25 $20.39 $42,410 0.6%
Louisiana 1,902,060 0.4% $15.62 $19.99 $41,590 0.6%
Maine 599,180 0.7% $17.41 $21.78 $45,300 0.9%
Maryland 2,664,330 0.5% $21.08 $27.53 $57,270 0.5%
Massachusetts 3,528,070 0.5% $22.81 $29.86 $62,110 0.6%
Michigan 4,276,040 0.5% $17.62 $23.22 $48,300 0.5%
Minnesota 2,838,270 0.5% $19.84 $25.35 $52,730 0.9%
Mississippi 1,119,470 0.7% $14.46 $18.71 $38,910 0.8%
Missouri 2,788,680 0.4% $16.85 $21.89 $45,520 0.6%
Montana 460,740 0.9% $16.27 $20.39 $42,400 0.9%
Nebraska 970,230 0.7% $17.37 $21.89 $45,530 0.8%
Nevada 1,310,220 0.8% $16.79 $21.65 $45,040 0.6%
New Hampshire 649,950 0.8% $18.70 $24.54 $51,040 0.7%
New Jersey 4,007,470 0.3% $20.43 $27.39 $56,970 0.5%
New Mexico 801,080 0.6% $16.08 $21.56 $44,840 1.9%
New York 9,207,870 0.3% $21.00 $28.90 $60,100 0.5%
North Carolina 4,298,390 0.3% $16.71 $22.15 $46,080 0.5%
North Dakota 416,670 1.3% $19.25 $23.14 $48,130 0.7%
Ohio 5,370,640 0.5% $17.55 $22.57 $46,950 0.6%
Oklahoma 1,573,000 0.5% $16.17 $20.84 $43,340 1.0%
Oregon 1,830,790 0.7% $18.67 $24.52 $51,010 1.1%
Pennsylvania 5,781,610 0.3% $18.05 $23.44 $48,760 0.4%
Rhode Island 475,910 1.4% $19.45 $25.54 $53,110 1.1%
South Carolina 2,009,460 0.4% $15.76 $20.31 $42,240 0.5%
South Dakota 419,470 0.4% $15.55 $19.60 $40,770 0.5%
Tennessee 2,915,750 0.5% $16.28 $20.94 $43,550 0.5%
Texas 11,890,880 0.3% $17.39 $23.42 $48,700 0.4%
Utah 1,410,670 0.7% $17.14 $22.33 $46,460 0.7%
Vermont 305,110 1.1% $18.57 $23.48 $48,840 1.2%
Virginia 3,789,910 0.4% $19.13 $25.95 $53,980 0.6%
Washington 3,186,610 0.8% $21.36 $27.63 $57,480 1.7%
West Virginia 688,530 0.9% $15.16 $19.90 $41,400 0.7%
Wisconsin 2,825,170 0.5% $17.81 $22.24 $46,270 0.5%
Wyoming 267,980 0.7% $18.81 $22.91 $47,650 0.6%
             
Federal district            
Federal district Employment Employment RSE Median hourly wage Mean hourly wage Annual mean wage Mean wage RSE
Washington DC 708,220 0.5% $33.82 $41.21 $85,720 5.8%
             
Inhabited territories            
Territory Employment Employment RSE Median hourly wage Mean hourly wage Annual mean wage Mean wage RSE
Guam 61,520 1.3% $13.00 $17.30 $35,980 2.7%
Puerto Rico 875,780 0.5% $9.76 $13.91 $28,930 0.6%
Virgin Islands 37,490 1.9% $14.74 $19.12 $39,770 2.3%
             
US Total            
Country Employment Employment RSE Median hourly wage Mean hourly wage Annual mean wage Mean wage RSE
United States 142,549,250 0.1% $18.12 $24.34 $50,620 0.1%

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