Watching for a potential plateau in US economic recovery

Nervous woman reading news about COVID-19 economic recovery

For the first time in three months, we’re seeing signs that the economic recovery from COVID-19 may be faltering. Following 10 consecutive non-holiday weeks of shift volume growth, U.S. shift work declined 0.5% for the week of July 6-12. This is the first week that shift work declined since COVID-19 collapsed the booming economic growth that most businesses were enjoying in the first two months of 2020, causing 36% of all shifts to evaporate.

While the decline in last week’s shift volume correlates with the rise in new COVID-19 cases that has prompted nearly two dozen states to either pause or reverse their reopening plans, it will be vital to keep an eye on shift activity over the next several weeks to determine if this is a blip on the radar possibly related to a July 4th holiday hangover or the first sign of a plateau as growth levels out.

Key statistics to watch around this emerging trend

Here are three stats from the latest U.S. Workforce Activity Report from Kronos and Ultimate you may want to know for this week:

  • 8: The limited number of states that have recovered at least 75 percent of the total shifts lost during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every other state – plus the District of Columbia – remain below this threshold.
  • 1: The Northeast is the only region to experience an increase in shift volume since June 22. The Midwest (-1.2 percent), Southeast (-2.5 percent), and West (-0.1 percent) have each watched shift work decline over the last several weeks.
  • 58: The total volume percentage of shifts recovered since workforce activity hit bottom in the week ending on April 12, 2020, reinforcing the long-term recovery effort that remains ahead of us.

To learn more about this week's workforce activity trends, or to view our report archive, visit