Weekly Shift Work Growth Triples Sluggish Summer Average with Annual Mid-August Surge of School Employee Activity

Preparations for Fall Semester Bolster Shift Recovery, According to Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report; Last 10% of Recovery Will be Most Challenging
August 18, 2020, LOWELL, Mass.

National Overview:

According to the U.S. Workforce Activity Report from Kronos Incorporated for Aug. 10-16, shift work volume1 grew 1.4% week-over-week – its largest single week increase since the week ending July 19 – resulting in more shifts worked last week than at any other point since the pandemic began. However, approximately half (48%) of last week’s surge can be directly attributed to increased activity among employees at education institutions, including K-12 and higher education. Overall, 67% of the shifts lost during the pandemic have been recovered.

Growth Averages:

August average weekly shift growth totals:

  • Week ending Aug. 2 shift growth: 0.4%
  • Week ending Aug. 9 shift growth: 0.5%
  • Week ending Aug. 16 shift growth: 1.4%

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%
  • average weekly shift growth as of Aug. 16: 0.9%

Region Snapshot:

Two regions are now less than 10% away from pre-pandemic shiftwork activity levels: Midwest2 shift volume grew 0.7% last week to land at 9.6% below mid-March levels while the West3 region shift volume grew 0.6% to reach 9.7% below mid-March levels. The Southeast4 (currently 11.2% below pre-pandemic levels) grew 1.2%. Following last week’s unusual decline, the Northeast5 rebounded strongly to grow 3.2% week-over-week to reach 13.1% below pre-pandemic shift levels.

Industry Analysis:

As projected in last week’s report, increased activity in the education sector powered shift volume recovery from 23% below pre-pandemic activity levels to 16% below pre-pandemic levels. The services and distribution industry now sits at 12% below mid-March levels and, although the retail, food service, and hospitality sector lost approximately 40% of total shifts during the initial weeks of the pandemic, it is just 11% from a return to normal shift activity levels. Manufacturing also sits at 11% below pre-pandemic levels, while healthcare gained 1% week-over-week to reach 7% below mid-March activity.


Dave Gilbertson, vice president, HCM practice group, Kronos
“As we reflect on the overall recovery since the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the U.S. workforce in mid-March, it’s increasingly clear that the last 10% of the recovery will be the most challenging. The velocity of shift work growth must accelerate in order to spur on rehiring and net-new job creation. By the same token, we can’t return to true pre-pandemic shift levels until the millions of eliminated jobs return to Main Street.”


The Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report delivers near real-time insights into weekly workplace activity and trends for 3.2 million employees. It is inclusive of shift data through Aug. 16, 2020. For more insights about the recovery, 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, visitwww.ultimatesoftware.com. 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: Midwest is defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Footnote 3: West is defined as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

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

Footnote 5: Northeast is defined as Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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