June Shift Work Growth May Point to Improved Unemployment Outlook

Though Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report Shows Pace of Growth Slowed, Shift Recovery Suggests Another Drop in Unemployment Rate
June 30, 2020, LOWELL, Mass.

National Overview:

From June 1-28, the total volume of shifts worked1 grew 5.9%, including 2.4% from June 22-28, continuing a slow but steady economic rally that began the week ending April 12, when U.S. shift work hit “the bottom.” According to the latest U.S. Workforce Activity Report from Kronos Incorporated, U.S. businesses have recovered 59% of the work shifts lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, shift volume remains down 15.2% since the week ending March 15, the last week of “normal” shift work activity before the U.S. declared a national emergency.

Job Growth:

The delta between employee terminations2, which includes both voluntary and involuntary turnover, and new employee hiring3 has yet to shrink and now stands at a ratio of 2.5 terminations for every 1 new hire, up from 2.1 to 1 last week. Prior to COVID-19, this ratio stood at nearly 1 to 1. Following three weeks of parallel decreases for both indicators, terminations once again increased while hirings decreased during the week of June 22-28.

State Snapshot:

With 13 states either still experiencing or surpassing an average of 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents per week4, just two of those states experienced a decline in shift work from June 1-28: Florida (-0.9%) and South Carolina (-7.9%). The remaining 11 states – Alabama (6.2%), Arizona (10.4%), Arkansas (2.1%), California (7.7%), Georgia (4.7%), Louisiana (4.7%), Mississippi (20.3%), Nevada (23.1%), North Carolina (7.4%), Texas (9%), and Utah (8.8%) – all saw measurable gains in shift work this month despite the increase in new weekly COVID-19 cases. The Northeast5 (4.1% week-over-week) is experiencing nearly twice the rate of shift recovery compared to the Southeast6 (2.2% week-over-week), which is hampered by COVID-19 spikes.

Industry Analysis:

When analyzed nationally by industry, shift work across five industries central to the U.S. economy continues to make a dramatic comeback from the economic impact of COVID-19: the healthcare industry remains down just 7% below pre-pandemic levels; manufacturing sits just down 14%; retail, hospitality, and food service as well as the service sector are only down 15%; and public sector has recovered nearly half of the shifts lost (49.5%).


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, HCM practice group, Kronos
“While this week’s national unemployment report for June may likely show an improved outlook when compared to May, our data – which reveals that shift growth is beginning to slow – suggests that the economic recovery could plateau. While the Northeast is surging ahead, the Southeast’s recovery is slowing down. That’s consistent with the COVID-19 spikes that region is experiencing. It remains to be seen whether those states will issue restrictions on business operations to mitigate the spread of the virus, but it’s clear the U.S. economic recovery has reached a critical inflection point.”


The Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report provides near real-time insights into workplace activity for the immediate preceding week. The report is currently analyzed and released weekly and inclusive of data through June 28. Historical reports, beginning the week of April 13, 2020 are available at Kronos.com/USWorkforceActivity.

Supporting Resources

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Kronos merged with Ultimate Software on April 1, 2020, to create one of the world’s most innovative HCM and workforce management companies. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

About Ultimate Software

Ultimate Software is a leading global provider of cloud human capital management (HCM) and employee experience solutions, with more than 51 million people records in the cloud. Ultimate’s award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, and time and labor management, as well as HR service delivery solutions. Founded in 1990, Ultimate is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and employs more than 6,000 professionals. To learn more, visit www.ultimatesoftware.com. Ultimate Software: People First.


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: “Terminations” is the aggregate number of employee profiles that are deactivated/removed from a Kronos cloud solution, indicating a termination of employment. The cause could be a layoff or resignation, as examples. Termination dates may be pre- or post-dated, creating minor variations in prior week’s data.

Footnote 3: “New hires” is the aggregate number of new employee profiles created inside a Kronos cloud solution. A new employee profile is created when an individual is hired into a position. New hire dates may be pre- or post-dated, creating minor variations in prior week’s data.

Footnote 4: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 U.S. case cracker: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

Footnote 5: For the purposes of this report, Northeast is defined as Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Footnote 6: For the purposes of this report, Southeast is defined as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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