Tuesday, August 4, 2020, LOWELL, Mass.

U.S. Shift Work Growth Stalled, Finds Kronos Workforce Activity Report

Following 32% Growth During First 11 Weeks of Recovery, Shift Work Has Grown a Scant 1% In July

National Overview:

According to the U.S. Workforce Activity Report from Kronos Incorporated for July 27-Aug. 2, shift work volume1 remained essentially flat between the weeks ending July 26 and Aug. 2, growing just 0.5% week-over-week. This slightly outpaces the 0.3% weekly average shift work growth that occurred since the week ending June 28. While shift work grew 32% during the first 11 weeks of the recovery, which begin the week ending April 12th, it has grown just 1.5% since late June.

Monthly Growth:

As the pace of recovery stalls, here is a close-up look at the monthly rate of shift work growth over the last three months:

  • May total shift growth: 8.7%
  • June total shift growth: 5.9%
  • July total shift growth: 1%

Region Snapshot:

The Northeast has now recovered 62% of shifts lost during the recovery – up from 55% in late June – and is the only region to post a significant gain in shift work during the month of July. On a weekly basis, shift growth held essentially flat for the week ending Aug. 2. The Southeast2 grew 0.9% and is now 13.9% below pre-pandemic shift levels. The West3 experienced a half percentage point (0.5%) increase and now sits 11.1% below pre-pandemic levels. The Northeast4 must recover another 15.1% to reach the same volume of shifts worked the week ending March 15 – the last week of “normal” workplace activity before the pandemic – after growing shift volume 0.3% last week. The Midwest5 declined 0.1% and must recover another 10.8% to achieve a full recovery.

Job Growth:

Employee terminations6, including voluntary and involuntary turnover, and job creation as measured by new employee hiring7 continue to sit at a diverged ratio of 2.7:1 for the second consecutive week. By comparison, during the week ending March 29 – two weeks after a national state of emergency was declared – it reached 3.4:1, indicating 3.4 terminations for every 1 hire. During a strong economy such as February 2020, this ratio should sit at approximately 1:1.

Industry Analysis:

Three key industries that power the U.S. economy have all converged at 12% below pre-pandemic levels: manufacturing; retail, hospitality, and food service; and services and distribution. Healthcare continues to hover at 8% below pre-pandemic shift volume, showing no growth over the last month, while public sector has recovered 50.5% of the shifts that were lost during the initial days of the pandemic and is down 25% overall.


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, HCM practice group, Kronos
“We’ve now settled into a clear plateau in shift work growth. What remains to be seen is how long shift work will remain stalled and whether we’ll start to see a greater divergence across individual regions as they recover at different rates. The remainder of summer will tell us whether the volume of COVID-19 cases means we’ve hit a peak in the recovery for the foreseeable, or if jobs growth will improve or slide backwards.”


The Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report is inclusive of shiftwork and jobs data through Aug. 2, 2020 for 3.2 million employees, delivering near real-time insights into weekly workplace activity and trends that inform the labor recovery. Visit www.kronos.com/USWorkforceActivity to view the full report archive.

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 www.kronos.com. 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 www.ultimatesoftware.com. Ultimate Software: People First.