Are you or a loved one working on Labor Day? You're definitely not alone.

There are about 160 million Americans older than 16 in the labor force, with about 14 million of those in the restaurant and retail industry.

An unofficial turning-of-the-page from summer to fall, Labor Day is an annual nod to American workers and their achievements, strength and prosperity.

But when did we start it, and who's included?

About Labor Day

There's some debate over who first proposed a workers holiday. According to some records, Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, first suggested it. However, others think there's strong evidence that machinist Matthew Maguire actually founded Labor Day. He was the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., as well as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

What's not debated is that the Central Labor Union proposed a Labor Day observance and formed a committee to plan a demonstration, according to the Department of Labor.

The first observance of Labor Day, according to the Census Bureau, was probably Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, when about 10,000 workers assembled for a parade in New York City. That parade inspired others around the country, and about decade later, more than half the states were observing some sort of holiday honoring "workingmen."

In 1894, the first Monday in September was officially designated "Labor Day" when President Grover Cleveland signed legislation passed by Congress. A year later, Labor Day was being celebrated in many U.S. industrial centers.

Facts and figures

  • $51,212 and $40,742: The 2015 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively. 
  • 90.1%: The percentage of full-time, year-round workers ages 19 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2015.
  • 2,564,610: Number of waiters and waitresses in May 2016.
  • Oregon: The first state to pass a bill to make Labor Day a holiday, on Feb. 21, 1887.
  • 6.5 million: The number of U.S. commuters in 2015 who left for work between midnight and 4:59 a.m.
  • 26.4 minutes: The average commute time for U.S. workers in 2015.