NU Online News Service, Nov. 9, 12:00 p.m. EST

The insurance industry lost 7,400 jobs from August to September, following a trend of declining employment during this period that goes back to 2001.

In an analysis of the latest U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Insurance Information Institute President Robert Hartwig says, “In general, September in the insurance industry is a month of dropping employment. [Property and casualty] employment in September vs. August dropped in all 11 years from 2001 through 2011.”

Employment at P&C insurers was down by 800 jobs, but Hartwig notes that this is a drop of just 0.2 percent. P&C insurer employment stands at 452,900. Year-over-year, P&C carrier employment is down by 11,100 jobs, or 2.4 percent.

Reinsurer employment fell by 300 from August to September to 27,500. Hartwig says this is “a relatively large drop for that sector” given the total number of reinsurance jobs in the U.S. Reinsurer employment is down by the same 300 jobs from September 2010 to September 2011.

Agent and broker employment fell by 3,400 jobs from August to September to 638,300. Hartwig says “a drop like this in September has become routine: this September vs. August drop is the sixth in the last seven years [for agents and brokers]. Remarkably, the number of agents and brokers employed in September 2011 is back to what it was in the late winter of 2004.”

The BLS data does not distinguish between agents and brokers, or life agents and brokers from P&C.

From all of the subsectors measured, third-party administration was the only one to see positive August-to-September employment numbers, adding 700 jobs for a total of 128,200.

Total industry jobs, after losing the 7,400 jobs from August to September, stands at 2,203,700.