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Hard at Work: A Labor Day Look at America’s Workforce

Aug. 28, 2017
Personal Finance
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First celebrated in 1882, Labor Day began as a “workingmen’s” holiday meant to celebrate the economic and social contribution of the American laborer. While the holiday now may be more strongly tied to final summer adventures and the chime of school bells, American workers are still cause for celebration.

At 160 million strong, today’s labor force has grown dramatically since the 1800s. Women, in particular, have contributed to the boost: In 1950, they made up just 30% of the workforce, but now women account for nearly half of all American workers. And the impact of small businesses can’t be denied. America’s 28 million small businesses employ 57.9 million workers.

And while retail salespeople make up the largest group of employees at 4.5 million, sales and promotional events mean there is a good chance they’ll be required to work the holiday weekend.

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