August Shift Work Outperforms Historical Trends, Sought-After Soft Landing Remains Intact

UKG to discuss findings in live market briefing on August 30 at 10 a.m. ET
August 30, 2022, LOWELL, Mass., and WESTON, Fla.

National Overview: The UKG Workforce Activity Report for August 2022 shows the total number of shifts worked1 by people at U.S. businesses decreased 0.8%, indicating modest signs of strength in the jobs market for the sixth month in a row. Overall, August outperformed historical trends, as declines in shift work reached only a fraction of the 2.4% drop recorded in August 2021. The UKG Workforce Recovery Scale climbed 2.1 percentage points, reaching 97.6% for the month. The services and distribution sector saw the largest decline (-1.6%), while the healthcare sector held relatively flat (-0.1%) for the first time since March 2022.

UKG will discuss the findings in a live market briefing on Tuesday, August 30, at 10 a.m. ET (U.S. and Canada). Register to attend.

Commentary: Dave Gilbertson, vice president, UKG
“The sought-after soft landing for the labor market appears to be intact for another month. Despite significant economic headwinds, August workforce activity showed signs of relative strength — especially when put into context of how August typically performs. It appears we largely avoided the late-season decline in workforce activity that comes this time every year as more people squeeze in vacations before the end of summer, which can be attributed to both more people being hired and people taking less time off during uncertain times. We’ve now seen six consecutive months of consistent, slight month-to-month weakening.”

Industry Analysis: Manufacturing shift work declined following growth in June and July:

  • Healthcare: -0.1%
  • Retail, hospitality, and food service: -0.1%
  • Manufacturing: -1.1%
  • Services and distribution: -1.6%

Region Snapshot: August outperforms historical trends, despite slight declines in all regions:

  • Northeast2: -0.1%
  • West3: -0.8%
  • Midwest4: -1.8%
  • Southeast5: -2.0%

Business Size: Shift growth increased as more people were hired and fewer took vacation time:

  • Fewer than 100 employees: -1.6%
  • 101-500: -1.1%
  • 501-1,000: -0.8%
  • 1,001-2,500: -1.5%
  • 2,501-5,000: 1.4%
  • More than 5,000: -0.2%

Timeliness: The UKG Workforce Activity Report is a high-frequency index analyzing shift work trends for 4 million people at 35,000 U.S. businesses to understand job creation and economic momentum.

About UKG

At UKG, our purpose is people. As strong believers in the power of culture and belonging as the secret to success, we champion great workplaces and build lifelong partnerships with our customers to show what’s possible when businesses invest in their people. Born from a historic merger that created one of the world’s leading HCM cloud companies, our unique Life-work Technology approach to HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people helps more than 70,000 organizations around the globe across every industry anticipate and adapt to their employees’ needs beyond just work. To learn more, visit

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 timeclock, mobile app, computer, or other device at the beginning and end of each shift.

Footnote 2: Northeast is defined as Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Footnote 3: West is defined as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

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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