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When is Labor Day 2021 in the US? Is it a national holiday?

September 6 will be this year's day for the celebration of American workers' contributions after 18 months of determination at the front line of covid-19.

Workers remove chairs in Times Square as Tropical Storm Henri approaches, in New York on August 22, 2021.
Kena BetancurAFP

What does Labor Day celebrate?

Labor Day has been an annual federal holiday in the United States since 1894. It was created in honor of the American labor movement and the enormous contribution which millions of workers have made in helping the United States to develop and prosper. Labor Day is traditionally celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, and the Virgin Islands and is the culmination of Labor Day Weekend.

Being an official, national holiday in the US and also Canada, for most Americans, Labor Day means having the day off from work and symbolically, it is considered the end of summer and start of fall when children return to school. There is always plenty to do on Labor Day and the weekend days preceding it; apart from spending quality time with family or friends, the day is usually celebrated with picnics, barbecues, street parades, fireworks displays, concerts and other events and activities. While workers are given time off on Labor Day, they are also paid as normal by their employers.

Why is it not on May 1?

Conservative Democratic President Grover Cleveland was one of those concerned that a labor holiday on May 1 would tend to become a commemoration of the Haymarket riot and would strengthen socialist and anarchist movements that backed the May 1 commemoration around the globe.

American Labor Day actually predates the European workers' festival of May Day, known as International Workers' Day. Many countries in Europe celebrate May Day with their own holiday, but the US government countered International Workers' Day by creating 'Loyalty Day,' which was first ratified by Congress in the 1950s during the Red scare.

What is significant about it this year?

Labor Day 2021 coincides with the ending of the expanded unemployment benefits. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the extra unemployment benefits (FPUC) will be ending, putting thousands of Americans at risk at a time when covid-19 has not yet been defeated.