According to the latest employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. insurance industry added 1,100 jobs in January — a 0.05% increase from the previous month.
On a year-to-year basis, the industry, which currently sits at roughly 2.2 million jobs, is about 1,000 jobs ahead of where it stood in January 2011.
The figures released by BLS also included adjusted employment numbers for December that showed the industry added 2,700 jobs between November and December. That figure is down from the increase of 3,300 BLS had previously reported (Best's News Service, Jan. 6, 2011).
Nationally, the country added 243,000 jobs in January, causing the unemployment rate to dip to 8.3%. BLS reported job growth was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Government employment changed little over the month.
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 job growth the industry saw in December primarily affected health (+0.1% to 430,900 jobs); property/casualty (+1.5% to 526,800 jobs); title insurance (+2% to 71,500 jobs); reinsurance (+2.3% to 27,300 jobs); agents/brokers (+0.2% to 646,600 jobs); and third-party administration of funds (+1.5% to 136,500 jobs). Life insurance (-2.3% to 343,800 jobs) and claims adjusting (-2.4% to 49,500 jobs) both saw their employment figures drop off slightly.
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 4.8% to $1067.19; health 4.2% to $1037.19; property/casualty 4.1% to $1085.06; agents/brokers 5.4% to $839.08; claims adjusting 5.11% to $967.57; and third-party administration of claims 3.7% to $815.69. Reinsurance again saw the most dramatic increase in weekly wages, jumping 37.4% to 1315.55%.