Labor Day in the 21st century is all about beaches, barbeques and ballgames. This year, for example, more than 35 million people plan to travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday weekend, nearly 195 million will barbeque and hundreds of thousands will attend an exciting slate of college football games. Many of us will also spend hundreds of dollars in the process.
But it hasn’t always been that way. Labor Day’s roots can be tracked back to the streets of 1882 New York City, where rival union leaders with homophonous last names banded together to protest the unfair labor practices that plagued industry at the time. Other areas then gradually picked up the mantle, with Oregon leading 29 more states in officially celebrating Labor Day before it became a federal holiday in 1894 (a move that probably wouldn’t have happened so soon if not for the deaths of 30 workers at the hands of federal officials during the infamous Pullman Strike).
This is not intended to remove wind from your sails as your enjoy one last dip in summer’s refreshing waters, but rather to help you cherish Labor Day weekend even more. Its place on the calendar is uniquely American — most other countries celebrate labor in May — and the fact that the industrial fatality rate has fallen by roughly 95 percent since the early 1900s, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides ample reason for cheer. So with that in mind, WalletHub put together a fun-fact-filled Labor Day By The Numbers infographic that will both entertain and educate you, while perhaps providing some celebratory ideas.