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Insurance Payroll Down, Job Losses Continue

Source: BestWeek

Posted on 08 Jun 2009

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According to seasonally adjusted data released June 5 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. insurance industry lost 3,500 jobs, the seventh consecutive month of losses.

Industry payrolls were 2.271 million in May, down from a seasonally adjusted 2.274 million in April. The number of insurance jobs has contracted in nine of the past 10 months. The industry lost 4,900 jobs in March, according to current BLS data.

Total nonfarm payrolls were down by 345,000 in May, bringing the total number of jobs lost since the start of the recession in December 2007 to 6.0 million. The U.S. unemployment rate rose from 8.9% to 9.4%. Monthly job losses had averaged 643,000 during the prior six months, according to BLS.

Year-over-year, insurance payrolls fell 1.9% from the 2.315 million jobs the industry reported in May 2008, compared with a 3.9% drop for nonfarm payrolls.

Total insurance industry payrolls are reported on a seasonably adjusted basis, along with the current month's nonfarm payrolls, on a monthly basis. 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 April 2009 data, payrolls for health insurers and reinsurers saw year-to-year growth. Payrolls for health insurers rose 2.8%, to 459,000. Reinsurance jobs grew by 5.1%, to 29,400. Those in the "other" segment also ticked upward, growing 0.6% to 53,000.