Younger Americans may not know much about Labor Day, but they do know they like it.
I am, perhaps, being harsh on those under 45, but millennials and Gen Z especially are a bit foggy about the holiday, according to a new Harris Poll survey. But what they lack in awareness they make up for in enthusiasm, especially when it comes to shopping the long weekend away.
Labor Day weekend is the summer’s last hurrah: After the first Monday in September, beaches empty, whites are stowed away and the last kids return to their classrooms. As is traditional in the United States, we mark this holiday with blow-out sales and deep discounts.
The holiday dates to the 1880s, when municipalities started observing it. States followed suit and in 1894 President Grover Cleveland signed a law enshrining on the calendar. It celebrates American workers and their social and economic contributions to the nation, with the idea of a day off enlivened by parades and festivals. Most Americans (nearly 7 in 10) say that they understand the meaning of the holiday (Gen Z is the outlier, with only 52% getting it and a surprising 48% confessing to not), according to our poll. In large numbers (nearly 3 in 5) U.S. adults feel that brands do a good job reflecting the holiday’s meaning. Workers on duty for the Labor Day sales might disagree, however, so an overwhelming share of Americans (more than 4 in 5) say that brands ought to do more to reflect the holiday and to support their own laborers (through things like extended vacation and bonuses).