Weekly Average U.S. Shift Growth Breaks 1% for First Time Since June

The UKG Workforce Activity Report Shows Seasonally Adjusted Weekly Average September Shift Growth Above 1%; Smallest Businesses Struggle to Keep Up
September 22, 2020, LOWELL, Mass.

National Overview:

According to the UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) Workforce Activity Report for Sept. 14-20, seasonally adjusted average weekly U.S. shift growth1 for September is now at 1.1% per week. This marks the first time average weekly shift growth has topped 1% since June. Overall, the total volume of shifts worked remains 6.6% 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: 0.5%
  • September average weekly shift growth: 1.1% (as of Sept. 20)

Business Size:

Through Sept. 20, unadjusted weekly shift growth for September at businesses with 5,000+ employees averages 3%. This is in sharp contrast to businesses with fewer than 100 employees, which are experiencing just 0.9% weekly average growth. Businesses with 101-2,500 employees are experiencing growth just above 2% per week depending on precise size.

Industry Analysis:

Unadjusted average weekly shift growth for September as of Sept. 20 varies broadly by industry:

  • Public Sector: 3%
  • Manufacturing: 2.8%
  • Services and distribution: 1.6%
  • Healthcare: 0.9%
  • Retail, hospitality, and food service: 0.0%

Region Snapshot:

Excluding the week of Labor Day, which experienced an anticipated holiday decline, unadjusted shift growth in the month of September continues to grow across all four regions:

  • Northeast3: 3.5%, now 8.3% below pre-pandemic levels
  • Southeast4: 2.4%, now 7.6% below pre-pandemic levels
  • West5: 2.5%, now 5.3% below pre-pandemic levels
  • Midwest6: 1.9%, now 3.9% below pre-pandemic levels


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, strategy and operations, UKG
“We’ve been seeing a tale of two recoveries for the last several months, and now the divergence between the biggest and smallest businesses is starting to become even more glaring. While small businesses with fewer than 100 employees demonstrated strong shift growth during the initial phase of the recovery, they’re now growing at just a third of the rate of businesses with more than 5,000 employees. Main Street businesses will continue to feel pinched as they attempt to weigh the risks and rewards of growth during uncertain times.”


The UKG Workforce Activity Report is a high frequency dataset analyzing shift trends for 3.2 million employees and is current as of Sept. 20, 2020. For more insights, visit www.kronos.com/USWorkforceActivity.

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

Footnote 4: Southeast is defined as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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

Footnote 6: Midwest is defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

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