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A Labor Day look at careers

What does Labor Day mean to you? The end of summer? Barbecues? Back-to-school sales? What does this have to do with labor, or work?

Monday is Labor Day in the United States. The holiday, which has been celebrated on the first Monday of September for more than 100 years, is a tribute to working men and women. It also is a day off from work for many Americans.

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While that may be good news for adults, what does it mean to kids? Maybe it's a good day to think about what job you might be doing when you grow up.

The US Department of Labor predicts that by the time this year's ninth-graders graduate from college, the number of jobs available in engineering, computing, taking care of pets, teaching math and science, and studying forensics (applying science to solve crimes) will increase by nearly 30 percent. That means more people will be needed to fill these positions in the future.

How about becoming a chef, a nurse, a landscape architect, a truck driver, or a carpenter? They, too, are some of the fastest growing jobs, according to experts. Do any of those careers sound like fun to you?

Labor Day celebrations may date back to 1882, when about 10,000 union workers paraded in the streets of New York City. Twelve years later, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill declaring it a national holiday.

In the late 1800s, the most common jobs were in farming and manufacturing. While these jobs still exist today (in much smaller numbers than 100 years ago), other jobs of that era aren't as common. Cars, for instance, have replaced the need for drivers of horse-drawn carriages. The telephone and computer have replaced the telegraph and the jobs that went with sending and reading messages in Morse code.

What jobs do you think will become obsolete a hundred years from now? You could think about that on Labor Day while you're taking in a parade or having a picnic with your family.


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