Labor Day Signals Summer’s End,
By Bonnie Newman Davis
Nearly one million Virginians traveled 50 miles or more from home last year during the Labor Day weekend, according to AAA. With gas prices continuing to drop, even more Virginians likely will hit the highways this year for what traditionally is considered summer’s last holiday.
Richmonder Michael L. Harvey plans to extend his summer fun right up to the end by heading north to Washington, D.C. Harvey, founder and chief executive officer of MLH Assets Management, said his four-day visit to the nation’s capital will be a much-needed “mental health break,” that will include jazz concerts, theater and shopping.
Although his financial services business slows down during the summer, Harvey explained, taking a break during Labor Day allows him to prepare for September, which he considers to be “the real new year.”
Labor Day downtime “allows me to balance living in the present with the need to prepare for the future,” said Harvey. “After the holiday, it’s time for us to box away our white clothes as we watch the shrubs and trees turn brown, red and yellow.”
Also heading north will be Kym and Kyle Grinnage of Chesterfield County. The Grinnages, who originally are from New York, will travel to Brooklyn, N.Y. for the wedding of a family member.
While the wedding reception aboard a yacht will be exciting, it also will mean work for Kyle Grinnage, an image consultant and trainer, who will do the bride’s makeup. Kym Grinnage, vice president and general manager for WWBT-Raycom Media, probably will be tapping into his cell phone and conducting business during the six-hour drive.
Although the Grinnages may encounter heavy traffic during their road trip, they will pay less at the pump, at least in the Richmond area where gas is expected to average $2.30 per gallon. Last year this time, a gallon of gas in Richmond averaged $3.14, according to AAA. Gas prices in Virginia will average $2.32, nearly a dollar less than a year ago.
For the hundreds of Virginians who plan to travel to Cong. Robert “Bobby” Scott’s (D-Va.) 39th Labor Day picnic at his home in Newport News, the lower gas prices will be right on time.
Scott’s Hampton Roads campaign office reports that the picnic will take place on Labor Day from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Open to the public, the event is a “thank you” to the congressman’s supporters and volunteers. “We are expecting 900-1,200 people,” said a Scott spokesperson. “There will be music, rides and refreshments, and everyone is invited.”
Tammy Arnette, a public affairs specialist with AAA Mid-Atlantic, said that Virginians tend to drive to many places throughout the state, including popular destinations such as the beaches, mountains and amusement parks. She advises that all drivers exercise caution and patience when behind the wheel. “There will be a lot of travelers on the road, so try to leave early in the morning rather than right after work,” she said.
Arnette also suggests that when traveling with children, be sure to pack creature comforts such as snacks and plenty of water. Vehicles should be checked and serviced before a road trip and equipped with an emergency roadside kit, Arnette added.
Because Labor Day falls somewhat late this year on Sept. 7, local fun seekers will have a few extra days before school, fall sports and other activities reach full throttle. Nina Goodwyn Sims, a Richmond-area wife and mother of two school-age children, feels the time crunch. Her plans for the holiday have been in play for weeks.
“I’ll be hosting my annual back-to-school cookout with family and prepping for the children’s first day,” said Sims. The cookout celebrates the end of summer camp and beginning of fourth and seventh grade for her son, Nathan, and daughter, Lauryn.
“I’ll be serving the typical hot dogs, hamburger sliders, corn on the cob, potato salad and my famous veggie baked beans (a dash of cinnamon makes all the difference)! I’ll slide in some grilled veggies and fish,” said Sims, who will take a week off from her job as marketing director for CCWA Training for last-minute school preparations. The time allows her to help Lauryn and Nathan adjust to their new schedule and results in a more stress-free holiday.
“We typically end the festivities early because I have to be in position for my online fantasy football draft,” Sims added. “Yes, I’ve played my “GrooveSquad” team for years! I even won a few championships. Bring on the school year and football!
Labor Day Facts and Statistics
Source: The United States Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics
The first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. That celebration inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another. Later that year, with Congress passing legislation and President Grover Cleveland signing the bill on June 29, the first Monday in September was designated “Labor Day.” This national holiday is a creation of the labor movement in the late 19th century — and pays tribute to the social and economic achievements of American workers.
Who Are We Celebrating?
157 million people 16 and over who were in the nation’s labor force as of June 2015.
16.2 million – The number of wage and salary workers age 16 and over represented by a union in 2014. This group includes both union members (14.6 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.6 million). Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (24.6 percent), and North Carolina again had the lowest rate (1.9 percent).
15 million – Employed female workers 16 and over in service occupations in 2013. Among male workers 16 and over, 11.6 million were employed in service-related occupations.
$50,033 and $39,157 – The 2013 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively. The real median household income $51,939, about 8.0 percent lower than in 2007.
53 percent -Projected percentage growth from 2012 to 2022 in the number of industrial-organizational psychologists (1,600 jobs in 2012), the projected fastest-growing occupation. Meanwhile, the occupation expected to add the greatest number of positions over this period is personal care aides (580,800).
86.1 percent – Percentage of full-time, year-round workers age 18 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2013.
Say Goodbye to Summer – Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.
25,100 – The number of shoe stores for back-to-school shopping in 2013. Other choices of retail establishments abound: there were 27,340 family clothing stores, 7,047 children and infants’ clothing stores, 6,998 office supplies and stationery stores, 7,064 book stores and 8,102 department stores.
Bonnie Newman Davis is a veteran journalist and journalism educator who has written for several local and national news outlets. Check out her blog, https://laceink.wordpress.com/, which chronicles all things Richmond.