Small businesses lag behind large ones in COVID-19 shiftwork recovery

Closed sign small business lack of recovery from COVID-19

A concerning trend is beginning to emerge as the shiftwork recovery continues. According to a new analysis by Kronos Incorporated of our sample 30,000 U.S. businesses with 3.2 million employees, small businesses may be closing at twice the rate of large businesses.

How big is the gap between small and large business recovery?

Here's a rundown of the trends we've seen between small and large businesses over the last few months:

  • In April, 12 percent of businesses with fewer than 500 employees recorded no punch activity. Among businesses with more than 500 employees, it was approximately 5 percent.
  • In May, at businesses with fewer than 500 employees, 10 percent recorded no punch activity. Among businesses with 500+ employees, it was 4 percent.
  • In June, that dipped slightly to 8 percent for small businesses, but rose in July (9 percent) and has continued rising in August (10 percent through August 16th). Meanwhile, just 3 percent of bigger businesses recorded no punches in June and July, while 4 percent have recorded no punches in August.

Why is this happening?

In a segment on CNBC on August 20th examining the Kronos data, it was suggested that the closure of the Payroll Protection Program has made it more challenging for small businesses to keep their doors open, and that it may become even more difficult for small businesses to find even footing as the economic recovery from COVID-19 drags on.

You can watch the full segment here, and view the latest Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report, which is tracking to rate of shiftwork recovery in near-real time, by visiting