Essential Pittsburgh
4:00 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

The Business of Labor Day

Rosie the Riveter, depicted here by Norman Rockwell for the Saturday Evening Post, was one of the most recognized icons of the labor movement.
Rosie the Riveter, depicted here by Norman Rockwell for the Saturday Evening Post, was one of the most recognized icons of the labor movement.
Credit Curtis Publishing / Wikipedia

More than 34 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more this Labor Day weekend. This brings big profit opportunities for  businesses throughout the country.

Since its inception in 1882, the holiday has been marked by icons like Rosie the Riveter, barbecues and family gatherings.

Rebecca Harris, Director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, says Labor Day weekend travelers will spend an estimated $800 on dining, shopping and gifts.

“There are solid back-to-school bargains that can be found at the beginning of the month…you want to buy the things that are off-season now,” she says.

So why not wear white after Labor Day?

Harris says while the history of this fashion faux pas is unclear, according to a TIME article, the trend began in the early 20th century among upper-middle class workers. Throughout the year these laborers were required to wear darker clothing when they went into cities to work. But during the summer, when they spent time vacationing with family, they could afford lighter fabric and clothing.