Shift Work Growth Begins to Slow Ahead of Summer Season

Hiring remains stalled but employee turnover dropped to lowest levels in five weeks, according to Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report
June 23, 2020, LOWELL, Mass.

National Overview:

While 53% of the shifts1 lost during the COVID-19 pandemic have now been recovered, the Kronos Incorporated U.S. Workforce Activity Report for June 15-21, 2020 shows weekly growth in shift work, which averaged 3.17% weekly since the week ending April 12 (excluding the week of Memorial Day) is now averaging just 1.65% from June 1-21. The week ending April 12 marked “the bottom” of employee shift work volume during the pandemic.

Job Growth:

Employee turnover and terminations2 dipped to their lowest levels in five weeks, but remain well above pre-pandemic norms, outpacing new hires last week 2.1-to-1, remaining well above the 1-to-1 terminations-to-hiring ratio seen in Kronos data in a strong economy. Employee new hires3 remain sluggish, with the weekly average down 33% from the week ending March 15, the last normal week of typical hiring activity before the U.S. declared a national emergency.

State Snapshot:

Of the 26 states experiencing increases in COVID-19 cases since early June, seven also experienced a drop in the total volume of shifts worked the week of June 15-21, including Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Shifts in South Carolina remain down 41.5% overall since the week ending March 15. New Hampshire shifts have rebounded significantly, now down just 0.5% since the beginning of the pandemic – the best in the U.S. Washington, an early epicenter of the virus, is also among the first to near pre-pandemic shift levels, currently down just 2.2% overall.

Industry Analysis:

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the service sector (-18% overall since the week ending March 15) has surpassed the retail, hospitality, and food service sector (-19% overall) in the total volume of shifts worked. The healthcare industry held flat week over week, down 8% from pre-pandemic shift levels. Manufacturing recovered another 1%, now down just 15% overall. Public sector shifts have increased 45% since hitting “the bottom” the week ending April 12 and remain down about a third (-35%) overall.


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, HCM practice group, Kronos
“The presence of COVID-19 has created a thick specter of doubt and uncertainty on the seasonal boosts many industries associate with summer, including retail, hospitality, travel and tourism, and the supply chains required to support these cornerstones of the U.S. economy. After weeks of consistent shift work gains, some industries are beginning to flatten. While it’s too early to be certain, shift work growth may plateau for summer – and the foreseeable future – as lagging consumer confidence and the expiration of the initial 8-week Payroll Protection Program forgiveness period create headwinds that are too strong for businesses to overcome.”


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 21. Historical reports, beginning the week of April 13-19, 2020 are available at

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.


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.

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