10 facts you probably didn’t know about Labor Day

Updated Sep 5, 2022
Here, the Women’s Auxiliary Typographical Union takes part in a Labor Day parade (undated). Photo: U.S. Department of LaborHere, the Women’s Auxiliary Typographical Union takes part in a Labor Day parade (undated). Photo: U.S. Department of Labor

Labor Day is more than just firing up the grill, putting the feet up and of course, answering the occasional emergency phone call about work.

To help appreciate the day a little bit more, here are some interesting facts about Labor Day: 

1. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union.

2. On that same day, approximately 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. The celebration inspired similar events across the country.

3. Labor Day was first recognized during 1885 and 1886 through municipal ordinances.

4. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but Oregon was the first to pass it as a law in 1887.

5. By 1894, 23 states had adopted the holiday to honor workers.

6. Labor Day had its origins in Canada and started back in December 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike for a 58-hour work-week

7. Other countries celebrate workers on something called May Day (May 1).

8. The US labor force peaked in 2020 at 164.6 million workers.

9. One theory is that the rule of not wearing white clothes after Labor Day stems from the uniforms worn during the time.

10. Labor Day is traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year.  Did you go anywhere for Labor Day this year?

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