According to statistics released Feb. 5 by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics for December 2015, employment in the insurance industry was up in most subsectors, but down in others such as the property and casualty carrier subgroup.
Compiled by the New York City-based Insurance Information Institute, the numbers show that property and casualty carrier employment fell by 600 (-0.1%) to 515,800 for the 12 months ending in December 2015. Employment in this category has generally been falling for the past 18 months and is now about even with where it was in October 2013, the institute said.
The agent/broker segment saw a gain of 26,600 jobs in December 2015 compared with December 2014, up 3.6% to 774,800, with 13,700 hired in the months of October 2015 and November 2015 alone, the institute said.
This is the largest two-month gain in this segment in the past 25 years. After losing jobs in the Great Recession, the segment has been fairly steadily gaining jobs and passed the pre-recession peak of 684,500 reached in July 2007. From the recent trough through December 2015, this segment has gained 136,600 jobs, the institute said.
Employment by life/annuity carriers rose in December 2015 compared with a year earlier, up 9,500 (2.9%) to 333,200. According to the institute, employment among life/annuity carriers reached bottom in March 2015 at 318,500. It has been rising since.
The health carrier segment continued its decades-long job gains, adding 25,100 in December, up 4.9% from the year-ago period to 538,100.
Among the smaller industry segments:
- Reinsurance carrier employment in the rose 1,000 in December, up 4.1% from December 2014, to 26,100.
- Employment at independent claims-adjusting firms on a year-over-year basis for December 2015 rose by 700 (+1.3%) to 56,600.
- Year-over-year employment in the category of third-party administration of insurance funds fell by 600 (-0.3 percent) to 173,600.
On Friday, the BLS reported that the United States added 151,000 jobs in January. The report also shows the unemployment rate dropping to 4.9%, a level not seen since February 2008. The jobs increase, however, was down from the 231,000 average job gain during the fourth quarter.
Economists had predicted that employment would increase by 190,000 in January with the jobless rate holding steady at 5%.
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