Shift Recovery Pauses for Labor Day as Businesses Hope to Shake Off Sluggish Summer Growth

Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report Shows Labor Day 2020 Experienced Smaller Decline than Labor Day 2019
September 15, 2020 , LOWELL, Mass.

National Overview:

According to the U.S. Workforce Activity Report for Sept. 7-13 from Kronos Incorporated – which will become UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) on Oct. 1 following its merger with Ultimate Software – the Labor Day observance resulted in an anticipated and unadjusted 11% decline in total shift volume1. However, Labor Day week 2020 experienced a smaller decline than Labor Day 2019, which saw a 13.3% reduction in shift volume.

Growth Averages:

Seasonally adjusted average weekly shift growth by month:

  • May average weekly shift growth: 2.7%
  • June average weekly shift growth: 1.9%
  • July average weekly shift growth: 0.7%
  • average weekly shift growth: 0.5%
  • average weekly shift growth: 0.5% (as of Sept. 13)

Region Snapshot:

Despite the anticipated reduction in shifts over Labor Day, regional declines were not uniform: the Midwest2 experienced the largest weekly drop of 13.3%, followed by the West3 (-10.4%) and Southeast4 (-10.2%). The Northeast5, which has generally lagged behind other regions due to a much greater initial drop during the shutdowns and slower recovery rates, decreased just 8.4%, with Maine as the only state that saw a rise in shift work during the Labor Day week.

Industry Analysis:

The manufacturing sector was the only industry to experience a bigger decline during Labor Day 2020 (-11.7%) than Labor Day 2019 (-10.4%). Like prior holiday weeks, all industries should return to pre-Labor Day levels – or even demonstrate modest gains over pre-Labor Day levels – as businesses resumed normal operations the week of Sept. 14.  


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, strategy and operations, Kronos
“A clear trend is starting to emerge in the shiftwork recovery: While all businesses experienced similar growth early on, very large businesses – those with more than 5,000 employees – are starting to enjoy greater and more sustained gains than smaller businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The longer the recovery takes, the more pronounced this disparity is likely to be become as smaller businesses exercise extreme prudence around job creation and expansion.”


The Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report provides high frequency data for employee shift trends and workplace activity current as of Sept. 13, 2020 for 3.2 million employees. For more insights about shiftwork trends, visit

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 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 Ultimate Software: People First. Beginning on October 1, 2020, Kronos and Ultimate together will be known as UKG.


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

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

Footnote 4: Southeast is defined as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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

© 2020 Kronos Incorporated and Ultimate Software. All rights reserved. Kronos and the Kronos logo are registered trademarks and Workforce Innovation That Works is a trademark of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. See a complete list of Kronos trademarks. UltiPro is a registered trademark of The Ultimate Software Group, Inc. All other trademarks, if any, are property of their respective owners.