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Monday, September 6, 2021

Happy Labor Day - 2021!

Happy Labor Day to all my American readers! For a lot of people, Labor Day means two things: a day off and the end of summer. However, Labor Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women and acknowledges the value and dignity of work and its role in American life.

Labor Day originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living.

Americans need today's holiday, since we work more than anyone in the industrialized world. We also take fewer vacations, work longer days, and retire later.

Statistics show that Americans work longer hours than citizens of most other countries — 137 more hours per year than Japan, 260 more per year than the U.K., and 499 more than France. And our productivity is high — 400% higher than it was in 1950, to be exact. So we totally deserve that day off.

Labor Day is a time to celebrate the benefits we enjoy at our jobs — including weekends off. The concept of American workers taking days off dates back to 1791, when a group of carpenters in Philadelphia went on strike to demand a shorter workweek (10-hour days, to be exact). It wasn't until 1836 that workers started demanding eight-hour workdays. So nine to five doesn't sound so bad after all.

In honor of today's Labor Day holiday, here are five facts you should know:

1. It’s on May 1 in other countries

Most countries around the world celebrate Labor Day on May 1, and it is called International Workers’ Day.

2. Stores remain open

While most schools and offices are closed on Labor Day, retail workers and shopkeepers don’t get the same break, as the holiday is huge for sales and shopping.

3. Third most popular holiday for outdoor cookouts

Labor Day is right behind the Fourth of July and Memorial Day in being the most popular holiday for barbecues and cookouts.

4. Labor Day marks the unofficial NFL kickoff

99.4% of the time, the NFL’s first official game of the season is on the Thursday following Labor Day.

5. Union members today

In 2017, there were 14.8 million union members, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while in 1983, there were 17.7 million.

Although the day’s focus on organized labor has diminished over the years, the holiday has become the last hurrah of summer—with a barbecue and day off work for many Americans.

And even though the American work force has changed dramatically since the industrial revolution, many Americans still work more hours and take less vacation than our western counterparts. We are constantly connected to our jobs with little respite; we all desire a good standard of living.

So, whether you work on a farm, at a plant, in an office or at a home business, we hope that you will take this day of honor, find some work/life balance, and reflect on your good work. After all, at work is where and how we spend the majority of our time!

Also, take a moment to reflect on this history and the many American workers who came before us—to build our railways, roads, infrastructure, and more. Then go to a picnic or barbecue as our ancestral workers did so many years ago!

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