Labor Day in the 21st century is all about beaches, BBQs, ballgames and buying things, but the holiday was very subdued last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, with a majority of Americans vaccinated, the festivities will be a lot bigger. For example, 53% of Americans plan to get out of town for Labor Day weekend. More than 160 million will enjoy a cookout. And thousands will pack college football stadiums.
But it hasn’t always been that way. Labor Day’s roots can be traced back to the streets of 1880s New York City, where rival union leaders joined forces to protest the unfair labor practices that plagued industry at the time.
This is not meant to take the wind from your sails as you enjoy one last dip in the summer sun. Rather, these Labor Day facts may help you cherish the holiday even more. Its place on the calendar is uniquely American – most other countries celebrate labor in May. And there’s ample reason for celebration, considering the industrial fatality rate has fallen by roughly 77% since the early 1900s.
So WalletHub gathered the most entertaining, educational Labor Day facts we could find to create this infographic. You can also check out the Ask the Experts section that follows for a panel discussion on the many facets of Labor Day.
Top 5 Labor Day Facts for 2021:
- 57% of Americans left vacation days unused in 2020.
- 42% of organizations have made or plan to make changes to time-off policies in light of the pandemic.
- 818 hot dogs are eaten every second from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
- More than 627,000 workers’ lives have been saved since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted in 1970.
- $250+ Billion is the annual cost of worker injury and illness in the U.S.
To gain a better understanding of the biggest issues facing workers today and how they’re likely to evolve in the near future, we posed the following questions to a panel of labor experts. You can check out their bios and responses below.
- What are the biggest threats facing working people today?
- How is the “gig economy” changing the nature of work? Should “gig economy” workers be treated like traditional employees or do we need new labor regulations for this growing sector?
- What policies should governments and firms adopt to improve the quality of life of American workers?
- How likely is it that the next Congress will pass new supports for workers, including an increase in the Federal minimum wage or mandatory paid family medical leave?
- What tips do you have for people that are planning a getaway for the Labor Day weekend?