Looking Back at Labor Day

History column

Looking Back

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.

According to most sources, the first observance of Labor Day was on September 5, 1882. Some 10,000 workers in New York City assembled for a parade. Similar events sprang up across the country and by 1894 more than half of the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another. On June 28 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. The bill was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland the very next day.


— As of May 2013, there were 155.7 million people age 16 and over in the American workforce.

Retail salespeople make up the largest portion of the workforce with 4,340,000 employees.

— The largest number of working folks in 1910 was farmers with an estimated 6,132,000 owners and tenants.

— The 2011 median income for a full-time male, year-round employee was $48,202. Full-time, year-round females had a median income of $37,118.

— Of the workers who drove to their place of employment in 2011, 76.4 percent travelled alone.

— The average time it takes an American worker to arrive at work is 25 ½ minutes.

— For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work.

Half of all U.S. workers make less than $26,364 per year.

— The average German auto worker, with pay and benefits, makes just over $67 an hour. Similar auto workers in America average $34 per hour.

— In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in what was considered middle class neighborhoods. That number dropped to 44 percent by 2007.

— Also in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the U.S. were in manufacturing. Today that number is closer to 8 percent. In 2011, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities shut down, every day.

— Nearly three-fourths of all American workers expect to continue working after retirement.

— A whopping 80 percent of employees say they do not want to go to work on Monday.

— On any given day (Monday-Friday) there are 17 million work-related meetings in America.

More heart attacks occur on Monday than any other day of the week and 75 percent of those occur between 5 and 8 a.m.

— The fingers of a good typist travel more than 12 miles per day.

Tuesday has the lowest percentage of absenteeism for American workers.

— More people walk to work in Alaska that any other state.

— In the U.S., federal law does not mandate pay for time not worked.


In 2013, a survey revealed what percentage of employees said they would do at least some work while on vacation?

a) 61 percent

b) 55 percent

c) 42 percent

d) 36 percent

(Answer below)


(Including vacation and public holidays)

— Australia … 31

— Denmark … 35

— Finland … 44

— Poland … 36

— South Africa … 33

— Vietnam … 22


… the alarm clock didn’t go off.

… I had to get the kids ready for school.

… I couldn’t find my car keys

… traffic was terrible!

… I ran out of gas.

… the power was out.

… of the rain (or snow).

… the line was really long at Starbucks.


— A coconut safety engineer shimmies up the tall trunk of trees to pick ripe coconuts before they fall. Resorts around the world hire these folks to prevent injuries to unsuspecting guests as they stroll along.

— At shoe companies, it is the job of a wrinkle chaser to use a special iron to ensure shoes are smooth as glass when they leave the factory.

— A celluloid trimmer shaves down a golf club and then adds celluloid bands onto the golf clubs to make the leather grip stay in place.

— Using a silicone sealer, a crack filler repairs the wear and tear on monumental structures such as Stone Mountain.

— The sound effects heard in movies, such as thunder, heavy footsteps and creaking doors, are created by a foley artist.

— Being a line waiter is a popular job in Washington. D.C. Lobbyists in particular will pay a person to stand in line outside the Supreme Court or other government buildings so they do not have to do so. One such service charges $36 per hour with a two hour minimum.

— Dice inspectors look for proportionality, specific angles and blemishes before the gambler risks his chips at the table.


(According to CareerBuilder.com)

  1. Hiring managers report that the top mistake made at a job interview is dressing inappropriately.
  2. Next on the list is speaking negatively about a current or previous employer.
  3. A candidate that appears disinterested in the job or the company’s mission has little chance of being hired.
  4. Hiring managers have little interest in an arrogant candidate.
  5. Giving non-specific answers to questions and not asking good questions also make interviewers have second thoughts about hiring a candidate.


— Paul was a tent-maker (Acts 18:2-3).

— Abraham and Sarah, traveled from place to place and survived by keeping herds and flocks of animals (Gen. 13.1-3).

— James and John, disciples of Jesus, were fishermen (Mark 1:19-20).

— Professional mourners were paid to cry and wail during funeral processions (Jer. 9:17; Matt. 9:23); others played sad music on flutes, beat their chests with their hands, and wore rough clothing called sackcloth (Gen. 37:34).

— Luke was a physician (Col. 4:14).


a) In a 2013 survey, 61 percent of vacationing employees reported they planned to do at least some job-related work. In 2012, that same question was answered positively by 52 percent.