The Labor Day Lowdown: Increasing Productivity, Reducing Absenteeism, and Other Stuff to Celebrate on Monday

Summer is on its way out. Fall is arriving. Labor Day weekend is ahead. And we all celebrate the day dedicated to the American worker by, ironically, not working.

Counter-intuitive as it may be, we’re looking forward to it. We think about not being at work a lot (i.e. absenteeism) and how to get people back to work sooner. Speaking of, did you catch the recent article that said depression is responsible for nearly $23 billion in absenteeism? Man … that’s depressing. The good news is, you can do something about it. (Learn more about reducing workplace absenteeism here.)

To change our usual focus from reducing absenteeism to celebrating being at work, we’ve dug up a few fun facts in honor of our American workforce and in celebration of our upcoming holiday.

  • Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894 under the Grover Cleveland administration to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike.
  • The Department of Labor appointed Thomas E. Perez as the new Secretary of Labor on July 23, 2013. (Congrats on the new job!)
  • The DOL is 100 years old this year! That’s right, on March 4,1913, William Howard Taft signed legislation creating the U.S. Department of Labor. (Happy Birthday, DOL!)
  • Nonfarm Business has had a .9% increase in productivity, a 2.6% increase in output and a 1.7% increase hours worked in the second quarter of 2013.
  • Manufacturers have had a 2.7% increase in productivity. (Dang, we’re really workin’!)
  • US Labor Department announced the final rules to improve employment of veterans and people with disabilities on August 27, 2013.
  • Esther Peterson was selected by President Kennedy to lead the Women’s Bureau of the DOL and serve as Assistant Secretary in 1961.Two years later, she was the driving force behind the Equal Pay Act in 1963. (Woot!)

Happy Labor Day, folks! Enjoy your holiday weekend!


P.S. If you have questions about calculating absence over a holiday weekend, check out this post.