Labor Day, for some, is a three day weekend.  A time for barbeque, for family or an end of summer adventure.
For others, especially those in the food and retail service industry, it’s business as usual, and sometimes more hectic than usual if additional sales are involved.
The holiday was originated thru labor unions and was designed to recognize the hard work and industry of the rank and file American worker.
Governmental entities first began recognizing tradesman with “labor day” celebrations in the 1880’s, and Congress made the first Monday in September an official holiday in 1894.
Originally holiday festivities included labor union parades, followed by picnics, to recognize hardworking tradesmen.
As manufacturing and industry jobs have decreased or moved overseas, organized private labor recognition has decreased just as government union membership or non-unionized jobs in the service industry have increased.
As the country has moved from a manufacturing economy, and become more service-oriented, in combination with the recession,  the effects on the workforce can be traced statistically.
Johnson County’s poverty rate has increased  64 percent, second only to Cass County, Missouri, which had a 90 percent increase between 2008 and 2009, according to a 2009 American Community Survey, released in October, 2010.
Both counties are primarily suburban.
The greatest increase in poverty between 2008 and 2009 was in Johnson County.
In the six-county metropolitan area, the most recent report indicates that 53 percent of full-time, nonseasonal workers earned between $30,000 and $75,000, a two percent drop since 2008.
However, earnings have not decreased for those at the top of the earnings level; those earning more than $75,000 annually has remained at about 19 percent, or two out of ten workers. That leaves more than 25 percent of the workforce earning less than $30,000 annually.
It’s ironic that Labor Day was created to honor everyday, rank and file American workers, but many of those are now the ones who work weekends and holidays – many times for long hours for minimum wages.
We believe in the American worker, and we believe all workers should be honored, especially those who work Labor Day. While you are shopping, dining out or conducting business on the holiday weekend, please remember to thank those who are working to make the holiday enjoyable.
They should be honored as well.