UKG Workforce Activity Report: April’s High Frequency Shift Data Tempers Expectations of Above-average Employment Growth

May 4, 2021, LOWELL, Mass. and WESTON, Fla.

National Overview:
High frequency data from UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) shows shift volume decreased 0.3% during April’s critical mid-month week utilized by the Department of Labor to calculate employment changes. Given this, UKG’s Workforce Activity Report indicates much more modest job creation in April compared to March.

By Business Size:
For the full month of April, growth at larger businesses continued to outpace growth at smaller businesses as Main Street struggled to propel itself forward.

  • Fewer than 100 employees: 0.4%
  • 101-500: 0.1%
  • 501-1,000: 0.4%
  • 1,001-2,500: -0.8%
  • 2,501-5,000: 1.8%
  • More than 5,000: 5%

Industry Analysis:
Several key industries experienced declining shift volume during April.

  • Manufacturing: -1.2%
  • Retail, hospitality, and food service: -1.2%
  • Healthcare: -1.8%

Region Snapshot:
Shift work growth in April was stronger in the eastern U.S. and weaker in the Midwest and western U.S.

  • Northeast2: 2.1%
  • Southeast3: 1.9%
  • Midwest4: 0.0%
  • West5: -0.8%

Recovery Scale:
The UKG Workforce Recovery Scale — which compares today’s shift volume versus pre-pandemic levels — now sits at 85.9, up just 0.4 points since March. It remains 14.1 points below February 2020’s pre-pandemic total.

Dave Gilbertson, vice president, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group)
“The economic recovery continues to be frustratingly uneven. Following a strong March, shift volume was essentially flat for April, tempering our expectations for a second straight month of strong growth. While modest growth is still positive, it will extend the duration of the recovery for the 8 million people who remain out of work today due to the pandemic.”

The UKG Workforce Activity Report is a high frequency index of U.S. shift volume spanning 3.3 million employees across 35,000 organizations. It measures how often employees are working today compared to February 2020. For more insights, visit

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About UKG

At UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), our purpose is people. Built from a merger that created one of the largest cloud companies in the world, UKG believes organizations succeed when they focus on their people. As a leading global provider of HCM, payroll, HR service delivery, and workforce management solutions, UKG delivers award-winning Pro, Dimensions, and Ready solutions to help tens of thousands of organizations across geographies and in every industry drive better business outcomes, improve HR effectiveness, streamline the payroll process, and help make work a better, more connected experience for everyone. UKG has more than 13,000 employees around the globe and is known for an inclusive workplace culture. The company has earned numerous awards for culture, products, and services, including consecutive years on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. 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 time clock, 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: Southeast is defined as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Footnote 4: Midwest is defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South

Footnote 5: West is defined as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

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