While many experts are bullish about the insurance industry shaking off the effects of the economic crisis in the coming year, the reality for insurance workers isn't as rosy in the here and now. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday that the U.S. insurance industry lost 3,400 jobs in October, which is the 12th consecutive month of losses, according to seasonally adjusted data.
Last month, industry payrolls were 2.244 million, down from a seasonally adjusted 2.247 million in September. The September data was revised downward from the 2.249 million jobs reported last month, changing September's job losses to 3,000. In the past year, the industry has lost 67,100 jobs, a drop of 2.9%, compared with a 4% fall for nonfarm payrolls, according to current BLS data.
Once again, health insurers were the only sector seeing year-to-year job growth, according to September 2009 data. Health insurer payrolls rose 2.3% to 461,400.
But after the minor growth in the health sector, all other markets saw job declines from September 2008 to September 2009. Title insurers plummeted 13% to 67,500 jobs. Claims adjusters jobs were down 12.3% to 46,400 jobs; third-party administrators (TPAs) dropped 6.5% to 121,800; property/casualty insurers fell 3.2% to 473,200; life insurers slid 2.9% to 345,400; agents and brokers were down 2.8% to 649,100; reinsurers fell 1.8% to 28,000; and all "other" sectors dropped 2.1% to 51,200.
In terms of average weekly earnings for non-supervisory positions, those numbers also fell in three categories during the same timeframe. Title insurance employees' earnings dropped 2.3% to $823.15, while pay for claims adjusters and TPAs each fell 1.3% to $870.87 and $749.05, respectively.
Life insurance employees saw the largest rise in earnings—5.7% to $989.23. A number of other groups also saw modest rises in pay, including agents and brokers rising 2.3% to $750.00; health insurance up 1.8% to $917.58; property/casualty ascending 1.4% to $996.10; reinsurance climbing 1.1% to $813.60; and "other" groups, which rose .82% to $811.06.
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