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Insurance Industry in U.S. Lost 3,600 Jobs in July

Source: A.M. Best

Posted on 09 Aug 2011

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The U.S. insurance industry lost 3,600 jobs in July, even as the national economy added 117,000 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 2.20 million jobs, is down 1.3% since July 2011.

The government data did show improved numbers for June 2011. A previously reported loss of 4,700 jobs was revised to 4,100 fewer positions.

Overall, total nonfarm employment increased by 117,000 jobs while unemployment dipped a notch to 9.1%. Private sector hiring grew while government employment continued to fall. The number of public sector jobs fell by 37,000, with 23,000 of those jobs due to the temporary partial government shutdown in Minnesota. Hiring in health care continued to increase, while employment in financial activities changed little.

Total insurance industry payrolls are reported each month on a seasonably 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.

Based on just-released June 2011 data, agents and brokers (+1%, to 644,500), reinsurance (+0.7%, to 27,300) and claims adjusting (+0.2%, to 48,600) saw modest job gains. Other sectors saw continued losses: life, down 1.9% to 371,100; health, down 3.3% to 418,700; property/casualty, down 2% to 457,700; title insurance, down 2.2% to 66,400; and third-party administration, down 2.3% to 127,600.

Title insurance employees saw a plunge in weekly wages in a year-to-year comparison: down 15.3% to $787.25. Reinsurance pay surged in the other direction, rising 12.3% to $1036.94. All other sectors saw increases, albeit by less than a percentage point in some cases: life, up 3.5% to $1051.42; health, up 6.6% to $1042.19; property/casualty, up 5.2% to $1081.14; agents and brokers, up 0.14% to $796.72; claims adjusting, up 0.25% to $926.77; and third-party administration, up 6.5% to $809.89.