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Shift Work Growth Begins to Slow Ahead of Summer Season

Hiring remains stalled but employee turnover dropped to lowest levels in five weeks, according to Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report

Kronos:

The @KronosInc #WorkforceActivityReport shows slowing growth in shift work and employment recovery as COVID-19 cases increase, consumer confidence lags, and #PPP forgiveness windows close.

National Overview:

While 53% of the shifts1 lost during the COVID-19 pandemic have now been recovered, the Kronos Incorporated U.S. Workforce Activity Report for June 15-21, 2020 shows weekly growth in shift work, which averaged 3.17% weekly since the week ending April 12 (excluding the week of Memorial Day) is now averaging just 1.65% from June 1-21. The week ending April 12 marked “the bottom” of employee shift work volume during the pandemic.

Job Growth:

Employee turnover and terminations2 dipped to their lowest levels in five weeks, but remain well above pre-pandemic norms, outpacing new hires last week 2.1-to-1, remaining well above the 1-to-1 terminations-to-hiring ratio seen in Kronos data in a strong economy. Employee new hires3 remain sluggish, with the weekly average down 33% from the week ending March 15, the last normal week of typical hiring activity before the U.S. declared a national emergency.

State Snapshot:

Of the 26 states experiencing increases in COVID-19 cases since early June, seven also experienced a drop in the total volume of shifts worked the week of June 15-21, including Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Shifts in South Carolina remain down 41.5% overall since the week ending March 15. New Hampshire shifts have rebounded significantly, now down just 0.5% since the beginning of the pandemic – the best in the U.S. Washington, an early epicenter of the virus, is also among the first to near pre-pandemic shift levels, currently down just 2.2% overall.

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Industry Analysis:

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the service sector (-18% overall since the week ending March 15) has surpassed the retail, hospitality, and food service sector (-19% overall) in the total volume of shifts worked. The healthcare industry held flat week over week, down 8% from pre-pandemic shift levels. Manufacturing recovered another 1%, now down just 15% overall. Public sector shifts have increased 45% since hitting “the bottom” the week ending April 12 and remain down about a third (-35%) overall.

Commentary:

Dave Gilbertson, vice president, HCM practice group, Kronos

“The presence of COVID-19 has created a thick specter of doubt and uncertainty on the seasonal boosts many industries associate with summer, including retail, hospitality, travel and tourism, and the supply chains required to support these cornerstones of the U.S. economy. After weeks of consistent shift work gains, some industries are beginning to flatten. While it’s too early to be certain, shift work growth may plateau for summer – and the foreseeable future – as lagging consumer confidence and the expiration of the initial 8-week Payroll Protection Program forgiveness period create headwinds that are too strong for businesses to overcome.”

Timeliness:

The Kronos U.S. Workforce Activity Report provides near real-time insights into workplace activity for the immediate preceding week. The report is currently analyzed and released weekly and inclusive of data through June 21. Historical reports, beginning the week of April 13-19, 2020 are available at Kronos.com/USWorkforceActivity.

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