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Employment in U.S. Insurance Industry Essentially Flat for November

Source: A.M. Best - Jeff Jeffrey

Posted on 05 Dec 2011

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Employment in the U.S. insurance industry was essentially flat in November, losing just 700 jobs, according to the latest employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That dip in employment marked a 0.7% decline from the previous month.

On a year-to-year basis, the industry employment, which still sits at roughly 2.2 million jobs, is down 0.7% since November 2010.
The figures released by BLS also included adjusted employment numbers for October that showed a slightly less positive improvement from September.

The adjusted figures showed that in October, the industry added 2,300 jobs. That number is down from the 2,500 additional jobs BLS had previously reported (Best's News Service, Nov. 4, 2011).

Nationally, the overall unemployment rate fell to 8.6% in November, and nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000. Employment continued to trend up in retail trade, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and health care. Government employment continued to trend down.

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.

The slight drop in jobs primarily affected property/casualty (-0.2% to 452,000 jobs), title insurance (-1.5% to 64,100 jobs), and third-party administration of claims (-0.2% to 127,900 jobs). All other areas saw modest improvements in employment: life (+0.4% to 374,900 jobs), health (+0.4% to 419,000 jobs), agents/brokers (+0.5% to 641,400 jobs), and claims adjusting (+1.9% to 48,600 jobs). Reinsurance remained exactly even at 27,500 jobs.

In terms of wages, all sectors except for title insurance saw upticks in their weekly wages on a year-to-year basis. Life insurance weekly wages increased 3.2% to $1062.74; health 3.6% to $1043.06; property/casualty 6.8% to $1,104.06; agents/brokers 6.8% to $855.71; claims adjusting 10.6% to $1046.44 and third-party administration of claims 8.8% to $846.58. Reinsurance saw the largest increase in weekly wages, jumping 27.1% to $1,211.19.
Marking a double-digit decline, title insurance saw its average weekly wages fall 14% to $807.21.