Ahead of February Jobs Report, UKG Workforce Activity Report Shows U.S. Poised for Shift Growth After Weathering Harsh Winter

March 2, 2021, LOWELL, Mass. and WESTON, Fla.

National Overview:

According to the U.S. Workforce Activity Report from UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), total shift work1 increased 1.9% in February. Growth was largely muted during the first half of February but showed measurable acceleration across all key business sizes and industry segments in the latter half of the month.

By Business Size:

Following contraction across the board in January, businesses in all segment sizes grew in February:

  • Fewer than 100 employees: 1.2%
  • 101-500: 2.2%
  • 501-1,000: 3.2%
  • 1,001-2,500: 2.5%
  • 2,501-5,000: 2.7%
  • More than 5,000: 0.9%

Industry Analysis:

Retail, hospitality, and food service—followed by manufacturing—led industry growth, with each key vertical posting positive February gains:

  • Retail, hospitality, and food service: 3.3%
  • Manufacturing: 2.9%
  • Services and distribution: 1.4%
  • Public sector: 1.4%
  • Healthcare: 1.0%

Region Snapshot:

Shift work volume increased across all four U.S. regions in February:

  • West2: 3.2%
  • Northeast3: 2.0%
  • Midwest4: 1.4%
  • Southeast5: 1.3%

Recovery Scale:

The UKG Workforce Recovery Scale—a measure of shift work momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic—is now at 86.6, up 0.7 points from January but still down from a high of 87.1 in November and September. By contrast, the Workforce Recovery Scale hit an all-time low of 66.8 in April 2020.


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group)
“After bottoming out in January, February saw a return to growth for hourly employees. This, in conjunction with rising vaccination rates and other positive indicators recently released from the Manufacturing sector, indicate the jobs recovery is poised to accelerate in the coming months. March, which marks one year since shutdowns began, will set the stage for the spring recovery.”


The UKG Workforce Activity Report analyzes high frequency shift data for 3.2 million employees at 30,000 organizations to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on U.S workplaces. It is current through February 28, 2021. For more insights, visit www.ukg.com/workforceactivityreport.

Supporting Resources

About UKG

At UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), our purpose is people. Built from a merger that created one of the largest cloud companies in the world, UKG believes organizations succeed when they focus on their people. As a leading global provider of HCM, payroll, HR service delivery, and workforce management solutions, UKG delivers award-winning Pro, Dimensions, and Ready solutions to help tens of thousands of organizations across geographies and in every industry drive better business outcomes, improve HR effectiveness, streamline the payroll process, and help make work a better, more connected experience for everyone. UKG has more than 13,000 employees around the globe and is known for an inclusive workplace culture. The company has earned numerous awards for culture, products, and services, including consecutive years on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. To learn more, visit ukg.com.


Footnote 1: “Shifts worked” is a total derived from aggregated employee time and attendance data and reflects the number of times that employees, especially those who are paid hourly or must be physically present at a workplace to perform their jobs, “clock in” and “clock out” via a time clock, mobile app, computer, or other device at the beginning and end of each shift.

Footnote 2: West is defined as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Footnote 3: Northeast is defined as Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Footnote 4: Midwest is defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Footnote 5: Southeast is defined as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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