UKG Workforce Activity Report Highlights Improved Shift Work Growth Ahead of September Jobs Report

Shift Growth Accelerated from Late August through Mid-September According to UKG
September 29, 2020, LOWELL, Mass.

National Overview:

According to the UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) Workforce Activity Report for Sept. 21-27, seasonally adjusted weekly U.S. shift growth1 for September is now averaging 1% per week. Shift work growth began to accelerate in late August with improved growth outpacing summer averages continuing through the middle of September. Overall, the total volume of shifts worked is now at 5.8% below pre-pandemic levels2.

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%
  • August average weekly shift growth: 0.6%
  • September average weekly shift growth: 1% (as of Sept. 27)

Business Size:

Through Sept. 27, unadjusted weekly shift growth at businesses with 100 or fewer employees for the month of September continues to sit at 0.9% per week. This lags behind all other business size segments, though shift growth at businesses with 5,000+ employees slowed from 3% per week through Sept. 20 to 1.1% per week through Sept. 27.

Industry Analysis:

Unadjusted average weekly shift growth for September as of Sept. 27:

  • Public Sector: 2.1%
  • Manufacturing: 2.0%
  • Services and distribution: 1.2%
  • Healthcare: 0.4%
  • Retail, hospitality, and food service: 0.1%

Region Snapshot:

The Midwest experienced a setback in shift work recovery as unadjusted shift work contracted week-over-week. Other regions experienced continued growth.

  • Midwest3: -0.3% weekly decline, now 3.8% below pre-pandemic levels
  • Northeast4: 0.9% weekly increase, now 7.4% below pre-pandemic levels
  • Southeast5: 0.9% weekly increase, now 6.4% below pre-pandemic levels
  • West6: 1% weekly increase, now 3.8% below pre-pandemic levels


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, strategy and operations, UKG
“When shift growth is strong, employment gains tend to be larger. This is what the first few months of the recovery showed us. September’s shift work growth should bode well for new employment gains. We saw strong acceleration of hourly employment coming out of Labor Day, a marked re-acceleration from August lows.  While the retail and hospitality recovery has flatlined—for now—other sectors less directly impacted by the pandemic have charged ahead.”


The UKG Workforce Activity Report is a high frequency dataset analyzing shift trends for 3.2 million employees and is current as of Sept. 27, 2020. For more insights, 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: Pre-pandemic levels are defined as levels experienced prior to the week ending March 15, 2020

Footnote 3: Midwest is defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Footnote 4: Northeast is defined as Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Footnote 5: Southeast is defined as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Footnote 6: West is defined as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

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