Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Statement on Labor Day.

September 03, 1939

Upon this Labor Day American wage earners may well consider the benefits and satisfaction which flow from a democracy not only to them but to all our people. We have the blessings of peace, a cohesive unity and a substantial measure of prosperity to be thankful for upon the national observance of this fifty-two-year-old birthday.

We have made great economic and social advances in the public interest since March, 1933, and they have combined for the general well-being of this generation and generations yet to come. Increased employment and more and better filled pay envelopes, brought about through the aid and cooperation of the Government, have built up purchasing power so that employers, farmers and investors have shared the benefits with millions of workers.

Wage earners themselves have gained directly through increases in wages and job opportunities, through better working conditions and through shorter hours of labor. They have been aided by such far-reaching and far-sighted legislation as the social security program for which this generation and future generations will ever offer up thanks.

The success of the comprehensive economic and social program, which was launched in 1933, is in fact already assured. Since March of that year, as a result of progressive and constructive policies, planned with the well-being of the entire nation in mind, jobs in private industry, exclusive of agriculture, have been provided for more than seven and a quarter million men and women who were without work in the early months of 1933. In this same period the amount in weekly pay envelopes, in manufacturing alone, increased by more than $90,000,000.

Results have been partly satisfactory so far as the income of farmers is concerned. Cash income of farmers for the first six months of 1933 totaled $2,057,000,000, as compared with $2,975,000,000 in the first six months of 1939, an increase of $918,000,000.

All this constitutes an economic achievement of which we may well be proud. So let us be thankful upon this Labor Day and the days to come for what we have accomplished in the great democracy which is the United States and let us pray that .nothing may transpire to interrupt our progress toward the goal of peace, good will and national well-being, which we as a people always have had and, please God, always shall have as our objective in our own interest and that of the world at large.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on Labor Day. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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