This Labor Day is a holiday celebrated by most Americans as a day of rest and the symbolic end of summer. But the day began as a tribute to the labor movement in the United States. Historians say the first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City and became a national holiday two years later following the deaths of workers at the hands of the military during a large labor strike.
Terry Plumb is a media relations specialist at the Charlotte office of the Census Bureau, which has produced a labor facts report for the region. Plumb says about 12 percent of workers nationwide belong to labor unions but that percentage is smaller in South Carolina.
In South Carolina there are just under 70,000 people who belong to labor unions, less than the national average. Compare that with 16.1 million nationally. South Carolina has never been known as a labor union state.
Plumb says fewer South Carolina workers have employee benefits, compared with the national average.
More people nationally have health insurance benefits, 82 percent during all or part of the year, and only 77 percent of South Carolinians. People shouldn’t be surprised that South Carolina comes out under the national average.
Plumb says South Carolinians don’t earn as much annually as workers in some other states.
The national wage for men nationally is $46,400. In South Carolina, it’s $31,464 for men. Women make an average of $27,762 in South Carolina, which is about $8000 less than what women make across the country.
Plumb says the number of workers who hold down more than one job nationally is 7.6 million–five percent of the working population. Of those moonlighters, four million work full time at their primary job and part time at their other job, but almost 300,000 people nationwide are listed as working full-time at two jobs.