Where Are Employees Returning To Work? Kronos Introduces Weekly Update On U.S. Workforce Activity

May 21, 2020

Editor's note: It's critical to remain aware of what to anticipate regarding the number of employees who will be on site as customers return to the office.

May 19, 2020 01:19 PM (EDT) / LOWELL, Mass.--()--Kronos Incorporated today introduced the U.S. Workforce Activity Report, an analysis of week-by-week workplace trends that aims to help business leaders and policy makers understand where and how fast employees are returning to work.

Analyzing 30,000 businesses with more than 3.2 million total employees, the U.S. Workforce Activity Report provides an immediate view into the preceding week’s data, including employee shifts worked1, new hires2, terminations3, and pay statements4. The report – currently analyzed and released weekly and inclusive of data through May 17 – compares workplace trends since the week ending March 15, 2020, when the U.S. declared a national state of emergency, against pre-pandemic conditions.

News Facts

  • The situation so far: Employee shifts worked are up nearly 16% since hitting “the bottom.”
    • Employee shifts worked were down a staggering 36% between the week ending March 15 – the last “normal” week of workforce activity – and the week ending April 12 – which appears to be when the number of weekly employee shifts worked hit “the bottom.”
    • Since then, employee shifts worked as measured by recorded time and attendance data have gradually and steadily increased for five consecutive weeks, growing a modest 15.8%, or an average of 3.1% growth per week.
    • As many states execute or begin to plan for phased re-openings, the sobering fact remains that a quarter of shifts worked in the pre-pandemic economy (25%) have yet to return.
  • Recovery of employee shifts varies drastically by state and industry.
    • Rhode Island and Nevada remain the two hardest-hit states as measured by declines in employee shifts worked compared to pre-pandemic levels, at -63.4% and -59%, respectively.
    • The tri-state area is struggling, too, compared to pre-pandemic levels, with Connecticut (-51.2%), New Jersey (-38.5%), and New York (-37.7%) ranking third, 11th, and 13th, respectively, in overall declines. California (-22.8%) is tied for 30th. Washington State (-23%/29th overall), an early epicenter of the virus, has experienced 13% growth since hitting “the bottom” the week ending April 12.
    • Conversely, Nevada experienced a significant 64% increase in shifts worked between the weeks ending April 26 and May 17 as the state works to reopen. In Georgia, shift activity has increased 34% since businesses began reopening on April 24. Shifts are down 47% in Massachusetts since week ending March 15, even as the state begins its phased reopening.
    • Industry-specific activity, tracked nationally, improved week over week, but remains down compared to pre-pandemic levels: public sector (-44%); services and distribution (-30%); retail, hospitality, and food service (-26%); manufacturing (-23%); and healthcare (-12%).
    • Public sector (25.8%), manufacturing (16.6%), retail, hospitality, and food service (16.2%), and services and distribution (13.4%) have each made double-digit gains since hitting “the bottom.”
  • Despite April’s historic unemployment surge, hiring hasn’t stalled completely.
    • Employee terminations, which for four consecutive weeks in March and April were more than 60% above normal average turnover levels, have declined by a quarter (-25%) since the week ending April 19, though it is too soon to determine if this improvement trend will continue.
    • The number of employees being hired is down by nearly half (-46%) since the week ending March 15, though that figure has held relatively stable for the last six weeks as certain sectors see ballooning demand, including distribution, grocery, logistics, and warehousing.

Supporting Quotes

  • Dave Gilbertson, vice president, HCM practice group, Kronos“Total shifts worked by employees reflected in actual time and attendance data can be a helpful indicator of the velocity of economic recovery going forward. Our analysis, which shows five straight weeks of modest growth, indicates we may be in the very early stages of stabilization as states execute their phased openings. When consumer demand exceeds the capacity that those on company payrolls can deliver, we will then see hiring slowly resume. Organizations should closely adhere to guidelines from local officials while seeking extra opportunities to keep employees and customers safe to avoid future economic freezes.”

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, visit www.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: “New hires” is the aggregate number of new employee profiles created inside a Kronos cloud solution. A new employee profile is created when an individual is hired into a position. New hire dates may be pre- or post-dated, creating minor variations in prior week’s data.

Footnote 3: “Terminations” is the aggregate number of employee profiles that are deactivated/removed from a Kronos cloud solution, indicating a termination of employment. The cause could be a layoff or resignation, as examples. Termination dates may be pre- or post-dated, creating minor variations in prior week’s data.

Footnote 4: “Pay statements” reflect the number of payroll checks generated each week, including both direct deposit transfers and physical checks.

© 2020 Kronos Incorporated and Ultimate Software. All rights reserved. Kronos and the Kronos logo are registered trademarks and Workforce Innovation That Works is a trademark of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. See a complete list of Kronos trademarks. UltiPro is a registered trademark of The Ultimate Software Group, Inc. All other trademarks, if any, are property of their respective owners.