The U.S. insurance industry added 5,900 jobs in August, marking a 0.26% increase over the previous month, according to the latest employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase continued the overall upward trend in employment the industry has seen since March.
Despite a two-month dip in employment between May and July, the industry is up 12,300 jobs since March, based on BLS' preliminary jobs figures for August.
On a year-to-year basis, the industry, which sits at approximately 2.29 million jobs, is up 8,900 jobs from August 2011.
Adjusted BLS data from July showed the industry lost 1,000 jobs between June and July a 0.04% decrease. The loss was a sharp shift away from the 3,500 lost jobs the agency previously reported.
Nationally, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down one-tenth of 1% to 8.1%. According to BLS, 12.5 million people remain unemployed.
Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services and in health care.
While the overall employment figures were lower than economists had expected, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis issued a statement saying the country has seen 30 straight months of job growth, adding 4.6 million private sector jobs. Solis said the country's economic recovery "remains on a stable trajectory of positive job growth."
However, given the jobs figures were released one day after President Obama spoke to the Democratic National Convention, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was quick to point out that unemployment has remained higher than expected for what he said was too long. In a tweet, Romney said, "Last night was the party, this morning is the hangover. Forty-three straight months of unemployment above 8%. America deserves better."
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 July, the monthly additions to the insurance workforce affected the property/casualty (+0.2% to 530,000 jobs); title insurance (+1.14% to 71,200 jobs); and claims adjusting (+1.85% to 49,600 jobs) sectors.
Sectors that saw a decline in their monthly employment included life (-0.27% to 337,000 jobs); health (-0.1% to 428,800 jobs); reinsurance (-0.4% to 28,000 jobs); and agents/brokers (-0.1% to 655,200 jobs).
Third-party administration of insurance funds held at 137,700 jobs.
On a year-to-year basis, the jobs added to the insurance industry since July 2011 affected health (+0.2% from 427,800 jobs); title insurance (+0.9% from 70,600 jobs); reinsurance (+7.28% from 26,100 jobs); agents/brokers (+1.1% from 648,400 jobs); and third-party administration of insurance funds (+1.6% from 135,600 jobs).
However, since last year, sectors that lost jobs included life (-1.7% to 342,900 jobs); and property/casualty (-0.02% from 530,100 jobs);
The claims-adjusting sector's year-to-year employment stayed flat at 49,600 jobs.
In terms of wage changes between June and July 2012, the industry saw weekly pay increases in all sectors except health, which saw a 3.8% decrease to $1,228.89.
Wage increases affected life (+9.8% to $1,434.01); property/casualty (+9.9% to $1314.59); title insurance (+3.4% to $1,126.29); agents/brokers (+7.2% to $1,096.30); and third-party administration of funds (+6.48% to $1,029.39).
Reinsurance again posted a dramatic year-to-year increase, jumping 32.1% to $2,095.49. Claims adjusting also posted a double-digit increase increasing 17.5% to $1,222.02.