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Insurance Industry Loses 3,500 Jobs in June, Down 0.15% from May

Source: A.M. Best

Posted on 09 Jul 2012 by Neilson

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Insurance jobsThe U.S. insurance industry lost 3,500 jobs in June, a decrease of 0.15% from the previous month, according to the latest employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The dip in insurance employment was in line with the sluggishness seen in the U.S. employment figures last month.

On a year-to-year basis, the industry, which currently sits at approximately 2.28 million jobs, is up 200 jobs from where it stood in June 2011.

Adjusted BLS data from May showed the industry added 2,500 jobs between April and May a 0.11% increase. That figure is up from the loss of 300 jobs the agency previously reported.

Nationally, U.S. employment continued to edge up in June, with 80,000 new jobs added to the country's work force. Professional and business services added jobs, while employment in other major industries changed little over the month, according to BLS.

Unemployment rate held at 8.2% in June, with 12.7 million people remaining unemployed.

The number of new jobs was much lower than many had been expecting, with some economists predicting the United States added roughly 100,000 last month. During the first quarter of the year, the average monthly number of new jobs was 226,000, far higher than the average of 75,000 seen in the second quarter of 2012.

April's report showed the country added 115,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained little changed, dipping one-tenth of 1% to 8.1% (Best's News Service, May 4, 2012).

Since then, job growth has slowed. BLS' adjusted data show the country added just 77,000 to the overall work force in May. That said, the number of new jobs added in May was up from the 69,000 BLS reported in last month's jobs report (Best's News Service, June 1, 2012).

Total insurance industry payrolls are reported each month on a seasonally adjusted basis, along with the current month's nonfarm payrolls. Separately, data by industry segment broken out by various insurance carrier and noncarrier categories are available only on an unadjusted basis for the prior month.

In May, the monthly additions to the insurance work force affected the agents/brokers (+0.5% to 652,900); life (+0.02% to 336,400 jobs); health (+0.02% to 428,500); property/casualty (+0.3% to 527,900 jobs) and title insurance sectors (+0.4% to 70,900).

The May uptick in the life and health sectors snapped a downward trend those lines have seen in recent months.

Life insurance saw the number of jobs in the sector decrease by 1,100 to 336,500 in April, marking a 0.3% decline. Health insurance also saw its work force ranks drop by 1,100 jobs, bringing its total ranks to 428,400 a 0.3% decrease during April (Best's News Service, June 01, 2012).

May saw decreases in the reinsurance (-0.4% to 27,700 jobs) and third-party administration of insurance funds (-0.07% to 137,300 jobs).

Claims adjusting remained flat at 48,200 jobs in May.

On a year-to-year basis, the jobs shed by the insurance industry since May 2011 hit the claims adjusting (-4% from 49,300 jobs); life (-1.3% from 340,700 jobs); property/casualty (-0.8% from 532,400 jobs); title insurance (-0.4% to 70,900 jobs).

Also on a year-to-year basis, the number of new jobs created since May 2011 has affected agents/brokers (+0.5% from 649,100 jobs); health (+0.1% from 428,100); reinsurance (+5.7% from 26,200 jobs); third-party administration of funds (+0.8% from 136,200 jobs); and title insurance (+0.1% from 70,800).

In terms of wages, every sector other than reinsurance saw weekly pay decline.

Agents/Brokers reported that wages fell 3.8 to $838.73; claims adjusting-2.9% to $990.76; health 3.2% to $1,046.05; life 3.33% to $1,047.14; property/casualty 1.34% to $1,124.8; third-party administration of funds 5.7% to $867.23; title insurance 0.6% to $787.71.

Despite bucking May's downward trend in weekly wages, reinsurance posted the most modest increase the sector has seen this year. Reinsurance wages increased just 0.3% after months of double-digit increases.