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September 6, 2010

Labor Day Marks Appreciation of America’s Workers

Labor Day, celebrated in the United States on the first Monday of each September, is the nation’s official commemoration of its workers’ contributions to national strength, prosperity and well-being. The American labor force is 154.4 million people strong, or about two-thirds of the working-age population.

The exact origins of Labor Day are unknown, but

Image of an American laborer

Photo: Fouquier on Flickr

Peter J. McGuire of the national carpenters’ union and Matthew Maguire of a machinists’ local in Paterson, New Jersey, are usually credited with the idea.

The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. The date apparently was chosen because it was about halfway between the July 4 Independence Day holiday and Thanksgiving (which falls in November). The occasion was marked by a parade sponsored by the Knights of Labor, an early U.S. labor organization, and about 10,000 workers marched.

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