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Insurance Employment Falls for September

Source: A.M. Best

Posted on 10 Oct 2011

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The U.S. insurance industry lost 2,800 jobs in September, erasing a gain from July to August, while the nation gained 103,000 jobs, according to the latest employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a year-to-year basis, industry employment, now standing at 2.2 million jobs, is down 1% since September 2010.

The BLS previously reported a surge of 3,400 new industry jobs in August, the first monthly increase in jobs in five months and the largest in more than a year. However, revised data put that gain at 2,600 jobs.

Nationally, the increase in total nonfarm employment was joined by revised data showing a 57,000-job gain for August; previously, national employment was reported flat that month. September job gains included growth in professional and business services, health care and construction; government employment continued to decline. The unemployment rate held at 9.1%. Since April, payroll employment has increased by an average of 72,000 per month; the average for the previous seven months was 161,000.

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.

Agents and brokers (+0.7% to 641,300) and reinsurers (+1.5% to 27,800) posted modest year-to-year job growth, based on newly released August 2011 data. All other sectors saw declining employment: life (-0.7% to 373,600), health (-2.3% to 418,100), property/casualty (-2.9% to 453,800), title (-2.2% to 66,500), claims adjusting (-1.0% to 48,000) and third-party administration of claims (-2.3% to 127,500).

Reinsurance pay (+19.9% to $1,131.38) continued to soar on a year-to-year basis, while weekly wages for title insurers continued to plunge (-20.1% to $772.90). Pay for agents and brokers (-4.1% to $801.50), life insurers (-0.5% to $1050.60) and claims adjusters (-0.2% to $965.31) was trimmed. All other sectors saw gains in weekly pay: health (+3.1% to $1,028.52), property/casualty (+0.6% to $1086.23) and third-party administration of claims (+1.3% to $816.91).