A Labor Day Reflection on the Value of Work

by Michael R. Strain

Last year’s Labor Day I wrote a reflection for National Review Online on the value of work. The statistics are obviously outdated, but I think the main — timeless? — message on the value and necessity of work for a flourishing life and the dignity work provides holds up pretty well.

My Labor Day weekend got off to something of a bleak start. An old friend e-mailed to say hello. She wrote that when we last spoke a few years ago, as I probably recall, she had gotten a master’s degree from NYU and a job on Wall Street. Since then, she lost her job during the financial crisis, and her most recent job was as a cashier working for minimum wage. This Labor Day will no doubt be bittersweet for her.

For her, and for millions of Americans, I should say.

You can read the entire essay here.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar and economist at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him on Twitter at twitter.com/MichaelRStrain.