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US Jobs Report: Insurance Jobs Slip in October

Employment in the U.S. insurance industry continued to drop, slipping by 1,400 jobs in October following adjusted September numbers showing a worse than previously determined loss of 6,000 jobs nationwide. The October employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a gain of 159,000 private-sector jobs in October, though the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6%.

The private-sector gains were partially offset by a slight decline in government jobs. The number of temporary census workers dropped 5,000 in October; after a peak of 564,000 in May, approximately 1,000 workers remained on federal payrolls in October. Employment in the insurance industry, however, shows a 12-month decline of 2.4%.

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 September 2010 data, there is no insurance sector showing year-over-year growth in jobs numbers. Life insurance carriers stood at 342,800 jobs, down 1.7%; the health sector had 427,200 jobs, down 2.3%; property/casualty jobs were 462,200, down 2.9%; title insurers had 66,200 jobs, down 4.7%; reinsurers held nearly steady at 26,400 jobs, down 0.4%; agents and brokers, the largest insurance job sector, has 626,500 jobs, down 2.8%; claims adjusters plunged to 43,400 jobs, down 9.0%; and third-party administrators fell to 124,900 jobs, down 2.7%.

Insurance wages continued to increase in year-over-year comparisons, with some month-to-month volatility.

Life insurance employees averaged $995.11 per week, up 4.8% from September 2009; health insurers’ wages averaged $971.00, up 5.8%; property/casualty workers, $1029.21, up 3.3%; reinsurers, $892.90, up 9.7%; agents and brokers, $789.77, up 5.3%; claims adjusters, $916.14, up 5.2%; third-party administrators, $779.94, up 4.2%. Title insurance employees’ weekly wages surged 14.9% in year-to-year comparisons to $946.03.

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