But the Labor Day holiday, which dates its earliest beginnings to 1882, is rooted not solely in the need for respite but in the desire to honor the sweat and dedication of the American worker.
With that in mind, today we offer a smorgasbord of information from the Census Bureau about the U.S. worker — the rich and poor, the glamorous and the routine.
As this recession has re-taught Americans, jobs are a cornerstone of our everyday lives, a necessity of unmatched proportions.
Labor Day facts and figures 155.1 million — Number of people 16 and older in the nation's labor force in May 2009.
83% — Percentage of full-time workers 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2007.
77% — Percentage of workers in private industry who receive a paid vacation as one of their employment benefits.
7.7 million — Number of workers who hold down more than one job. So-called moonlighters comprise 5 percent of the working population.
288,000 — When do they sleep? Number of moonlighters who work full time at two jobs.
10.4 million — Number of self-employed workers.
22.5 million — Number of female workers 16 and older in educational services and health care and social assistance industries.
28% — Percentage of workers 16 and older who work more than 40 hours a week. Eight percent work 60 or more hours a week.
4 — Median number of years workers have been with their current employer. About 9 percent of those employed have been with their current employer for 20 or more years.
10.3 million — Number of independent contractors.
15.7 million — Number of labor union members nationwide. About 12 percent of wage and salary workers belong to unions.
Minus-10.8% — Percentage decline in employment in Elkhart County, Ind., between September 2007 and September 2008, the largest percentage decline among the nation's 334 largest counties. Maricopa, Ariz., posted the largest numerical job loss over the period: 67,100.
3.2% — Percentage increase in employment in Yakima County, Wash., between September 2007 and September 2008, the largest percentage increase among the nation's 334 largest counties. Harris, Texas, posted the largest numerical job gain over the period: 26,500.
5.7 million — The number of people who work at home.
$45,113 and $35,102 — The 2007 annual median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively.
$1,552 — Average weekly wage in New York County (Manhattan), N.Y., for the third quarter of 2008, the highest among the nation's 334 largest counties.
17 million — Number of commuters who leave for work between midnight and 5:59 a.m. These early birds represent 13 percent of all commuters.
76% — Percentage of workers who drive alone to work. Another 10 percent carpool, and 5 percent take public transportation (excluding taxicabs).
31.5 minutes — The average time it takes to commute to work for residents of New York state. New York residents had the most time-consuming commute in the nation, followed by that of Maryland residents with 31.1 minutes. The national average was 25.3 minutes.
3.4 million — Number of workers who face extreme commutes to work of 90 or more minutes each day.
— Source: U.S. Census Bureau