Labor Day by the numbers

How much do you know about Labor Day?

(CNN) -- Labor Day is a holiday many American workers eagerly anticipate -- a three-day weekend, and a respite from work to relax and celebrate with friends and family. As you're calculating how many bags of buns you need to go with that jumbo pack of hot dogs at your barbecue (they never seem to match up), here are some other Labor Day numbers to contemplate.

33 million: Americans who plan to travel at least 50 miles over Labor Day weekend this year, according to AAA.

14 cents: Average increase in the price of a gallon of gas since AAA's 2011 Labor Day forecast.

155.2 million: Number of people 16 years and older who are in the labor force.

85: Percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health care insurance during all or part of 2010.

39.7 million: Number of people who the Department of Labor helped through the Employment and Training Administration programs.

58: Percent who think it's OK to wear white after Labor Day according to a nonscientific poll.

685,000: Number of workers who were placed into new jobs through the Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker programs.

1.674 million: Veterans who were helped by the Department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) in 2010.

473,700: Number of veteran workers entering into employment.

25.3 minutes: Average commute time in 2010. Maryland has the longest commute in the country, with an average time of 31.8 minutes. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 American Community Survey, Table R0801)

3.2 million: Number of workers whose commutes were 90 or more minutes each day in 2010.

$47,715: 2010 real median full-time earnings for males.

$36,931: 2010 real median full-time earnings for females.

29.2: Percent difference in men's and women's earnings.

11.8: Percentage of workers who were members of a union in 2011.

30: Percentage reduction of overall family summer travel from May through September.

How Labor Day began is a debatable topic.  According to the AFL/CIO , some say Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, first suggested a day to honor workers. Others credit Matthew Maguire, a machinist who served as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

Wikipedia  says "the holiday originated in Canada out of labor disputes ("Nine-Hour Movement") first in Hamilton, then in Toronto, Ontario in the 1870s, which resulted in a Trade Union Act which legalized and protected union activity in 1872. The parades held in support of the Nine-Hour Movement and the printers' strike led to an annual celebration in Canada."  These labor festivals inspired  U.S. observances. 

How are you celebrating this Labor Day? Share your plans in the comments section below.

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