Robert L. DilenschneiderRobert L. Dilenschneider

As Labor Day approaches, please remember the men, women and children of South Texas, especially Houston, who are going through a terrible time and need all the support the rest of America can offer.

It is clear that jobs are growing and job creation is happening again. The unemployment rate is at 4.3 percent, a 16-year low. Non-farm payroll employment increased by 209,000 jobs in July. And the monthly hiring pace has averaged 184,000 this year.

Employment during the period increased in food services and drinking places (up by 53,000); jobs in professional and business services rose by 49,000.

Of course, we still need to put more Americans to work, stimulate the nation’s economy, rebuild our manufacturing base and restore the nation’s aging infrastructure. But we are a strong country full of people who want to work, who want to invest and who want to do better. There is much to be grateful for.

America’s 159.8 million workers—up nearly 1.5 million from one year ago—are collectively the most productive in the world. It is this drive and determination that help make our nation the greatest on Earth. We should all be proud of that fact and do whatever we can to keep this unmatchable spirit alive.

Companies are being careful in hiring today, but if every business with revenues over $5 million would bring just one person on board, it would make a great difference. And who knows, the right person could create or advance an idea that would really help the employer.

That is the American way, after all … innovation.

The first Labor Day was on September 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers marched in New York City.

That celebration inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another. In June of that year, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Americans worked 12-hour days, sometimes seven days a week, during the 19th century. The Adamson Act was passed on September 3, 1916, establishing an eight-hour work day.

Today, 4,528,550 people work in retail; 3,426,090 are in food services; 2,857,180 are registered nurses—one of the fastest growing professions—and 2,295,510 are secretaries and administrative assistants (excluding the legal, medical and executive fields.)

In 1920 more than 11 million people were involved in farming. That number is much smaller today–fewer than 3 million.

One of the fastest-growing job categories is wind turbine service technicians—a projected growth of 108 percent from 2014 to 2024. The occupation expected to add the greatest number of positions over that same 10-year period is personal care aides (458,100).

More than 16 million of the nation’s workers are members of a union. New York continues to have the highest union membership rate (23.6 percent) and South Carolina the lowest (1.6 percent).

Among full-time workers, 90.1 percent are covered by health insurance.

About 6.5 million of us leave for work between midnight and 4:59 am, while 4.6 percent of the labor force work from home. An estimated 76.6 percent drive alone to work, while 9 percent carpool and 0.6 percent bike to their jobs. The average commute is just over 26 minutes.

There is still a Labor Day parade in New York City, which takes place on Fifth Avenue starting at 44th Street, 20 blocks north of the 1882 labor march.

Enjoy Labor Day and get ready for the fall.


Robert L. Dilenschneider is founder and chairman of The Dilenschneider Group, a global public relations and communications consulting firm headquartered in New York City. The former CEO of Hill and Knowlton, Inc., he is also author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling “Power and Influence.”