Celebrating American Workers

JoAnn KawamotoLabor Day, a celebration of the American workers’ dedication, hard work and persistence, was declared a National holiday in 1894 by President Grover Cleveland. Today, typically marked by family picnics, it is seen by most as the unofficial end of summer, as school begins once more.

As we celebrate Labor Day in 2014, let us consider some of the characteristics of our American workforce both past and present:

Largest Occupational Categories
• 2013: 4.5 M Retail Salespeople, 3.3 M Cashiers, 3 M Food Service Workers
• 1910: 6.1 M Farmers, 2.8 M Farm Laborers, 2.5 M Unpaid Farm Laborers

Notice the shift from being a primarily agricultural nation to becoming a consumer and business focused nation.

Fastest Growing Occupations
• Personal Care Aides
• Registered Nurses

These positions are expected to add more than 500,000 workers in each category over the next 8 years; putting them at a 49% projected growth rate.

The Commute
• 19.8 M people leave for work between 7-7:30 am
• 76% drive alone
• Average commute time 25.7 minutes

So how does our Gulf Coast labor market compare to the national statistics?
• Industries experiencing the fastest growth include health care, education and energy
• Occupations experiencing the largest net growth include teachers and registered nurses
• Average commute time is slightly less than 25 minutes (Have they been to Houston? 🙂 )

Based on the above information, population growth nearly doubles the national rate, and with an abundance of high growth jobs, I’d say the Gulf Coast Region is a great place to live and work.

As you enjoy this holiday with family and friends, don’t forget to appreciate all the labor that went in to giving you a day off. Despite, or possibly because of constant changes, the United States of America and its workers are adaptable, industrious and worth celebrating.

JoAnn Kawamoto is a Workforce Solutions Regional Facilitator for the Houston – Galveston area, conducting job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. She applies her B.Ed. and over 15 years of Workforce Development, Allied Healthcare, and Contract Management to connect potential employees with employers.



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