Labor Day: Tips for shopping and learning about the holiday
How to buy a car at the Labor Day sales

Facts and figures for Labor Day this year

Dolhistory-20100830-labordayhistory-21Labor Day is a holiday that recognizes the social and economic achievements of American workers. It was established in 1894.

What’s happening on Labor Day 2016 and who are American workers today?


More than 3.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day weekend, according to WalletHub, a personal finance website. Of those, 85.8 percent will travel by car. Seven percent will fly to their destination. It’s the fifth straight year travel volume has increased.

Drivers are paying 27 cents less than they did at this same time last year for gas and are on track to pay the lowest Labor Day gas prices since 2004, according to AAA.

Travelers should expect lots of traffic and be prepared for congestion. WalletHub estimates 438 people will be killed in traffic accidents over the Labor Day weekend and 50,300 will be injured.


Stores will end the summer season with some of their hottest deals on apparel, electronics, and shoes, according to Look for summer clothes and swimsuit bargains. Last year, clothing sales made up nearly a third of all Labor Day discounts. Running shoes, big-screen TVs, laptops, and patio furniture also will be on sale. However, wait if you need a new barbecue for grilling. DealNews thinks you can get a better deal later in the year.

Click here to see a list of WalletHub’s 10 best Labor Day deals.

American workers

The U.S. Census Bureau offers these facts and figures on American workers for Labor Day 2016:

Number of American workers

158.5 million

The number of people age 16 and over in the nation's labor force as of May 2016.

Their jobs

Largest Occupations May 2015                                                

  • Retail salespeople - 4,612,510
  • Cashiers - 3,478,420
  • Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food - 3,216,460
  • Office clerks, general - 2,944,420
  • Registered nurses - 2,745,910
  • Customer service representatives - 2,595,990
  • Waiters and waitresses - 2,505,630
  • Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand - 2,487,680
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive - 2,281,120
  • Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners - 2,146,880

16.4 million

The number of wage and salary workers age 16 and older represented by a union in 2015. This group included union members, 14.8 million, and workers who reported no union affiliation but whose jobs were covered by a union contract, 1.6 million. New York continued to have the highest union membership rate, 24.7 percent, and South Carolina had the lowest rate, 2.1 percent.

15.2 million

The number of employed female workers age 16 and older in service occupations in 2014. Of male workers age 16 and over, 11.8 million were employed in service-related occupations.


The percentage increase in employment, or 141.9 million, in the United States between December 2014 and December 2015. In December 2015, the 342 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more jobs accounted for 72.5 percent of total U.S. employment and 77.8 percent of total wages. These 342 counties had a net job growth of 2.2 million throughout the year, which was 81.4 percent of the overall U.S. employment increase.


$50,383 and $39,621

The 2014 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers.


The 2014 median Asian household income, the highest among race groups. The median income of non-Hispanic, white households was $60,256 and for black households it was $35,398. For Hispanic households, the median income was $42,491.

Fastest growing jobs


The projected percentage growth from 2014 to 2024 in the number of wind turbine service technicians, 4,400 jobs in 2014, the projected fastest-growing occupation. The occupation expected to add the greatest number of positions in this period is personal care aides, 458,100.

Employee benefits


The percentage of full-time, year-round workers age 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2014.

The commute to work

6.3 million

The number of commuters who left for work between midnight and 4:59 a.m. in 2014. They made up 4.5 percent of all commuters. The most common time was between 7 a.m. and 7:29 a.m. – with 20.6 million commuters.


The percentage of workers age 16 and over who worked at home in 2014.


The percentage of workers age 16 and over who drove alone to work in 2015. Another 9.2 percent carpooled and .6 percent biked to work.

26 minutes

The average time it took workers in the U.S. to commute to work in 2014. In New York, it took 32.6 minutes.

Copyright 2016, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist









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