How Hurricane Ian Impacted Workforce Activity

Three men assess damage after Hurricane Ian

The September jobs report landed right where the UKG workforce activity data was pointing, registering 263,000 new jobs for the month, down slightly from August. While we’ve seen a steady and consistent slight slowing in workforce activity for six out of the last seven months, we are closely watching a potential downward acceleration that started to emerge during the latter half of September.

While September mid-month workforce activity declined a healthy -0.3%—the expected reaction to current market conditions and changing Federal Reserve interest rates—we did see declines pick up at the end of the month. People worked 2% fewer shifts during the last week of September compared to the same period in August. It’s not time to sound the alarm bells just yet, but it is worth noting that October is a pivotal month for holiday hiring. A disappointing result in October could pave the way for a couple of difficult months for manufacturers, retailers, logistics firms, and everyone else dependent on a strong shopping season to make their yearly numbers.

The impact of Hurricane Ian

The UKG high frequency data also allows us to analyze the impact of Hurricane Ian on Florida’s Gulf Coast. For the week of the devastating storm, Florida saw workforce activity decline -19.3%. However, Hillsborough and Lee Counties saw much steeper declines at -47.6% week-over-week. In addition to the property damage created by the storm, the average employee paid by the hour in these regions lost about half of their typical weekly wages. Many will likely see reduced wages for the next few weeks and maybe even months as the region works to rebuild businesses and resume the steady influx of tourists that fuel its local economy. We will continue to monitor workforce activity in these counties and report back on the economic recovery as it progresses.

For the week of Hurricane Ian, Florida saw workforce activity decline -19.3%. However, Hillsborough and Lee Counties saw much steeper declines at -47.6% week-over-week.

We’ll continue to analyze the October data week-by-week to determine whether October will be more of a trick or a treat. We’ll share a preview of our expectations on October 25th and publish our full findings on November 1. Register to attend our live labor marketing briefing here

Each month, UKG releases its Workforce Activity Report. This next report will be the 49th published by UKG on the state of the economy since April 2020. At the onset of the pandemic, UKG began publishing this high frequency index, which analyzes the actual number of shifts being worked by 4.2 million across people on a week-by-week basis, to provide a near real-time view of employment trends. The goal is to provide policymakers, business leaders, and economists with the most current information possible to guide decisions.