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Looking Back Sept. 2 2012

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

The first observance of Labor Day is believed to have been a parade of 10,000 workers on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, organized by Peter J. McGuire, a Carpenter and Joiners Union secretary. By 1893, more than half the states were observing “Labor Day” on one day or another. Congress passed a bill to establish a federal holiday in 1894. President Grover Cleveland signed the bill soon afterward, designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

The daily grind

• As of June 2012, there were 155.2 million people age 16 and older in the nation’s workforce.

• During all or part of 2010, 85 percent of full-time workers age 18 to 64 were covered by health insurance.

• Employment increased by 1.4 percent in the United States between December 2010 and December 2011.

• The average time it takes a worker to get to his or her place of employment is just over 25 minutes.

• The number of workers who face a daily commute of 90 or more minutes is 3.2 million.

• Of workers in private industry, 78 percent receive a paid vacation as one of their employment benefits.

• In 2010, 7.8 million workers in the U.S. held more than one job. Of that number, 284,000 worked two full-time jobs.

• Only 10 percent of today’s full-time workers have been with their current employer for 20 or more years.

When I grow up, I want to be ...

• Psychics average an annual income of $41,000. The economic tailspin has helped the psychic business as more people sought answers (and reassurance) about the financial future.

• A sommelier helps people dining decide which wines complement their meals. A master sommelier can make as much as $160,000 per year.

• Ethical hackers help find glitches and weaknesses in business computer systems and can easily exceed an annual income of $90,000.

• At an average yearly income of $59,400, subway and streetcar operators move people and sometimes collect fares.

• Submarine cooks are critical to the Navy. They live and work in a steel pressure tube deep under the water preparing meals and seldom seeing sunlight. Wages vary but often top $100,000 annually.

• Experienced professionals who do voice overs for television, radio and/or movies can earn $300 for five minutes of finished work.

• When the owner of an airplane cannot or does not make the payments, banks hire professionals to repossess the aircraft. Depending upon the situation, an airplane repo person can earn between $10,000 and $90,000 per job.

• Scuba diving skills come in handy for golf ball divers. Recovering the lost balls from water usually brings the diver 18 cents per ball — more for better branded balls.

• A pet psychologist studies the behavior of a trouble-causing animal, usually a dog but sometimes a cat, and redirects any behaviors that are issues with the pet owner. A top pet head doctor can earn in excess of $90,000 per year.

• Speed and accuracy can make a career of court reporting quite profitable. The hours are flexible and it’s a skill that can be used regardless of location. Typically, there is no requirement for a college degree, which is not bad for an annual income up to $100,000.

• A fashion diva’s dream job may well be that of a Barbie, Bratz or American Girl dress designer. Most of these positions require a degree from a design school and the average pay is between $60,000 and $70,000 per year.

Odd jobs

• Fortune cookie writer

• IMAX screen cleaner

• Cheese sprayer (sprays cheese on popcorn)

• Furniture tester

• Dice inspector

• Chicken sexer

Quotes about work

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing.The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You should not confuse your life with your career.” — Dave Barry

“When you play, play hard. When you work, don’t play at all.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity,” — George Carlin

“ God sells us all things at the price of labor.” — Leonardo di Vinci

“People may not get all they work for in the world, but they must certainly work for what they get.” — Frederick Douglass

“Always be smarter than the people that hire you.” — Lena Horne

“I always arrive at the office late but I make up for it by leaving early.” — Charles Lamb

“No man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him.” — Thomas Jefferson

Take a break

• Only 57 percent of U.S. workers take all the vacation time they are entitled to each year.

• Among vacationing Americans, almost half (46 percent) say that they will (or did) work on their vacation. This number includes over one-third (35 percent) who monitor emails and just under a quarter (22 percent) who check voicemails or occasionally take phone calls.

• It is the norm in Germany for workers to get six weeks of paid vacation, plus national holidays each year. Most employers make sure the days are taken.

• More than two dozen industrialized countries, from Australia to Slovenia to Japan, require employers to offer four weeks or more of paid vacation to their workers.

• The United Kingdom requires employers to give at least 28 vacation days to employees with 10 years of service.

• Employers in the United States are not obligated under federal law to offer any paid vacation, so about a quarter of all American workers don’t have access to it.