Labor Day is the last national holiday before the grind of another school year, the beginning of fall (unofficially) and the start of football. Pee Wee (or Mighty Mite), high school, college and the pros.
Everyone knows the day was originally set aside to target those who do work for a company, an individual or governmental entity. It began in the 1880s as America became industrialized. As trade unions and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
Whose big idea was Labor Day?
Some give the credit to P.J. McGuire, who was the vice president of the American Federation of Labor for about 20 years from 1881-1901. He’s been called the father of the day in the United States.
There probably aren’t too many who could answer that if it came up in Trivial Pursuit. In fact, most people don’t even make the connection to big labor when thinking the Labor Day holiday.
It’s become a three-day and for some, a four-day weekend away from the grind.
Labor Day has become one last gasp of summer activities. It usually means picnics, tossing a football around with family and friends and it unofficially ushers in the baseball playoffs. Those are the connections most folks make when Labor Day approaches.
Many families use the long weekend to have one last retreat. Some will kayak the James River or the Finley. Others will spend the day fishing on Table Rock or one of the other lakes meandering through our neck of the woods.
But before we head out for one last break, let’s take a look at how our labor force is fairing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, our unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent. In Missouri, it’s even lower at 3.3 percent. Our unemployment rate in Christian County is at a measly 2.8 percent. That’s full employment by any definition.
It’s enough to make a stodgy person grin and a happy person just want to take a break from the everyday routine and relax near a lake, or take in a baseball game or just sit on the deck and do absolutely nothing!
Labor Day 2019 should be celebrated. Not for big unions, but for one of the best economies in the world, in the best country on the planet.
It’s been a while since there’s been this much optimism. It’s been even longer since employment opportunities have been this great for everyone who wants to work.
Mark Twain on Work
In America, we hurry – which is well; but when the day’s work is done, we go one thinking of losses and gains, we plan for the morrow, we even carry our business cares to bed with us…we burn up our energies with these excitements, and either die early or drop into a lean and mean old age at a time of life which they call a man’s prime in Europe…What a robust people, what a nation of thinkers we might be, if we would only lay ourselves on the shelf occasionally and Renoir edges!