Labor Day Reflections

More than just a three-day weekend, Labor Day celebrates the blue collar lifeblood of America's economy -- including manufacturing credit unions.


The modern-day image of Labor Day is that of barbeques, fireworks, and end-of-summer sales at department stores. While there may be a Labor Day Parade, the day’s original meaning is often lost in the shuffle of the busy day’s events. Originally, Labor Day was a time to honor and celebrate the people who made America the powerful nation it is today: America’s manufacturing workers. C redit unions' earliest members were primarily members of labor unions. Credit unions, themselves, were single-sponsored and often formed around a place of employment like a factory.

Today, credit unions serving the manufacturing community make up about eight percent of the total number of credit unions. While they're a small percentage of the total, these credit unions remain a strong force in the credit union movement by performing above industry averages in multiple categories including member growth, loan growth, and share growth.

According to second-quarter data, member growth is at 2.64 percent, 21 basis points above the industry average. This figure indicates that these credit unions are not a relic of the past, but are modern institutions attracting new members. The large percent difference between the loan and share growth numbers for single-sponsored credit unions substantiate this claim, displaying the growth in member participation with their credit unions.

Clearly, the credit unions servicing the manufacturing community are continuing to provide for the people for whom they were initially founded. The year-to-date values for member, loan and share growth are all above the industry averages, indicating that the future of these credit unions is bright.

Many Americans celebrate Labor Day because its observance creates a three-day weekend at the end of the summer. This year, remember the history of the credit union movement; remember the labor unions’ fight for fair treatment of working people; remember that America’s workers provide the backbone for this country. Celebrate not only time spent with family, but also the contributions, past and present, of the credit unions serving America’s workers.

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