Shift Work Rebounds 25% in Last 8 Weeks According to Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report

On the Heels of May’s Better-than-expected Unemployment Rate, Volume of Shifts Being Worked Still Down 19% from Pre-pandemic Levels
June 9, 2020, LOWELL, Mass.

National Overview:

Kronos Incorporated today announced that its update on weekly workforce activity for June 1-7, 2020 shows the volume of shifts being worked1 has increased 25% in the last 8 weeks. Since April 12, 2020 – which represents “the bottom” of employee shift work during the pandemic – Kronos has tracked 8 weeks of gradual but consistent increases in shift work (excluding an expected Memorial Day holiday dip) which predicted May’s better-than-expected unemployment report before it was released.

To date, 45% of the total shifts lost during the COVID-19 pandemic have been recovered as states reopen and some businesses resume operations. However, it is critical to remember that shifts worked remains dramatically down when compared to the week ending March 15, 2020, the last full week of typical workplace activity before the COVID-19 national state of emergency declaration.

State Snapshot:

Nevada shifts increased 63% week-over-week as casino gaming began to resume, the largest single-week jump by any state in the nation since the beginning of COVID-19. Massachusetts continues its drop to become the third hardest-hit state in terms of total shifts lost (-40% overall) as many states, including Oklahoma (-38%), South Carolina (-35%), New Mexico (-33%), and Nevada (-22%) recover shifts more quickly. Rhode Island (-59%) remains largely stagnant as the hardest-hit state in the nation, followed by Connecticut (-49%). 

Industry Analysis:

A public sector rally continues as shifts worked in this industry have rebounded 45% since the week ending April 12 – which represents “the bottom” of shift work activity during the pandemic – yet, public sector shifts overall remain down 35% since the week ending March 15. Healthcare shifts worked are now down just 9% and may be the first industry to reach pre-pandemic shift work volume. Manufacturing (-17% overall), retail, hospitality, and food service (-21% overall), and services and distribution (-24% overall) have each seen shift work grow approximately 25% since the week ending April 12.

Job Growth:

Employee terminations2 held flat week-over-week, but still remain 46% higher than the week ending March 15. New hires4 also remain flat week-over-week, with the weekly average down 35% from pre-pandemic levels. The number of pay statements3 issued is down just 7% since late March despite big swings in shifts worked that also closely aligned with weekly and monthly unemployment reports, which further demonstrates the value of incorporating data about shifts worked in economic modeling and forecasts.


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, HCM practice group, Kronos
“We’re still in the euphoric phase of reopening and following last week’s May unemployment report – including the exuberance around its positive nature – it’s important to remember that unemployment remains at levels we haven’t experienced in more than 75 years. June, July, and August will tell us a lot, especially as the Payroll Protection Program funding provided to many small businesses becomes depleted. Hope is high and we expect to learn a lot about the trajectory and velocity of the recovery leading up to the July 4th holiday.”


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 7. Reports 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: “Pay statements” reflect the number of payroll checks generated each week, including both direct deposit transfers and physical checks.

Footnote 4: “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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