Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Remember - the Library will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2016 for Labor Day.

To help our patrons celebrate - and remember what this holiday is all about - we've put together a book display in the Social Sciences room at Central Library that we will (most likely) keep up for most of September. Come take a look at it, and maybe check out a book or two to enjoy at home. We also have some great reference books on the subject, 2 of which are pictured here.

As a rule, the books on labor and unions are at Dewey 331.8(ish) - so in the beautiful wooden shelves under the windows looking east toward Christ Church Cathedral for circulating books, and in the beautiful wooden shelves on the interior west wall for the reference books.

In addition to the great resources at the Library, we recommend that you explore the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's FRASER digital archives, a rich source of primary source material on all things economic, including labor matters. Click here for a recent explanatory post about the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment numbers.

Finally (before we let you go enjoy your Labor Day BBQ), here is some information on Labor Day and U.S. employment related numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.


The first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. The parade inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a "workingmen's holiday" on one day or another. Later that year, with Congress passing legislation and President Grover Cleveland signing the bill on June 29, the first Monday in September was designated "Labor Day." This national holiday is a creation of the labor movement in the late 19th century and pays tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Who Are We Celebrating?

158.5 million

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

16.4 million

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

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Table 1. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by selected characteristics Table 5. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state

15.2 million

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

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey, Table C24010


The percentage increase in employment, or 141.9 million, in the U.S. 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 over the year, which accounted for 81.4 percent of the overall U.S. employment increase.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Another Day, Another Dollar

$50,383 and $39,621

The 2014 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively. The 2014 real median household income of $53,657 is not statistically different in real terms from the 2013 median of $54,462.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 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 represented 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.

Source:U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey, Table B08132


The percentage of workers age 16 and over who drove alone to work in 2015. Another 9.2 percent carpooled and 0.6 percent biked to work.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey, Table S0801

26.0 minutes

The average time it took workers in the U.S. to commute to work in 2014. New York (32.6 minutes) and Maryland (32.3 minutes) had the most time-consuming commutes.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey, Table R0801

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