Shift work in July grew a paltry 1 percent during the month and averaged just 0.3 percent weekly growth. That sits in stark contrast to the 8.7 percent growth in shift work experienced in May and the 5.9 percent growth that we witnessed in June. So what are the key details on this apparent stall in US jobs recovery? Let's take a look.

Managing through uncertainty stalled US jobs recovery banner

Massive disparities in regional recovery

Regional recovery trends are a key area to watch as we monitor the situation. We break down the country into four regions for the purposes of our report – the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West.

As of late June, the Northeast had recovered 55 percent of the shifts that were lost during the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of July, the needle had moved: the Northeast had recovered 62 percent of the shifts that had evaporated during those first few weeks.

While that growth is good news, there is a big “however.” So, here it is: however, the Northeast was the only region to show any measurable improvement. Why is this important? A sign of a healthy recovery is consistency across the country.

Questions to ask as we track these trends

The US jobs recovery has been sputtering since the end of June and it now appears to have finally stalled, as our data predicted at the beginning of July. While that isn’t great news, what’s important is what happens next. Here are the questions you should keep in mind as we continue to assess the situation:

  • Will the recovery sit on a plateau for the next several weeks or several months?
  • When the needle does start to move again, which way will it go? Will it go up? Or will it go down?
  • Will we see all regions converge to recover at similar rates?
  • Will the regional implications of COVID-19 resurgence hold some regions back while others propel themselves ahead?

These are all things we'll be thinking about as we analyze and publish our weekly Workforce Activity Report in the days ahead. Keep up with the latest findings at kronos.com/USWorkforceActivity.

See the full report

Published: Thursday, August 6, 2020