Laboring during Labor Day

Published 7:20 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

For most area residents, Labor Day will be a holiday — a day off from work, the last “unofficial” day of summer.

But with Beaufort County’s unemployment rate hovering around 11 percent during the past two years at least, there’s no doubt some of the area’s unemployed residents would not mind working Labor Day. In fact, they would not minding working nights, weekends, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

While many area residents will use the upcoming Labor Day weekend as an opportunity for one last getaway to the beaches, visit to the mountains or trip to lake, those who have been unemployed for weeks and months likely won’t be making those excursions because they cannot afford to do so.

Labor Day became a national holiday to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. Labor Day was nationally recognized in 1894 to placate unionists after the Pullman Strike.

For the unemployed in the area, we’re sure they would rather celebrate by being able to having many “labor days” so they can support their families and regain the dignity associated with going to work, putting food on the table and being productive members of society in an economic sense. We’re convinced that most of the area’s unemployed would rather be receiving paychecks instead of unemployment benefits.

In recent months, about 2,100 members of the county’s work force — about 21,000 people each month — were without employment. That’s equivalent to about a fifth of the city of Washington’s population. More than likely, that means most of us know at least one person who is without a job because he or she cannot find employment.

So, those of us who get to observe Labor Day by taking a day off from our work Sept. 2 should be happy we have jobs from which to take off a day of work. For those without jobs this Labor Day, here’s hoping you will be able to take a day off from work next Labor Day — if not much sooner.