The employment report for June 2020 just released by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, has some interesting numbers. I’m not referring to the national employment numbers but to the May employment numbers for the insurance industry.
You might remember that the May numbers for the national economy were dreadful. The unemployment percentage was 13.3 percent. The comparable numbers for subsets like the property casualty (P/C) insurance industry aren’t released until a month later, but those numbers for these subsectors became available recently. Note that the May numbers are preliminary and are often revised, through slightly in subsequent months.
In May, preliminary p/c insurance carrier employment shed the 2700 jobs that had been gained in April. P/C carrier employment has been effectively flat at 559,000 since February 2020-remarkable in relation to most other sectors of the economy.
Life/annuity carriers gained 300 jobs in May, for total employment of 350,000 – essentially flat since January 2019 (with some few large month – to – month changes that net to roughly zero).
Surprisingly, health (mainly medical expense) carriers lost 3,200 jobs in May following a loss of 2500 (revised upward) jobs in April. This might be explained by the cessation for services like elective surgery and fewer visits to emergency departments (a recent CDC report showed a drop of roughly 25% in visits for heart attacks and strokes in April and May.
Insurance brokerage and agencies gained 1500 jobs in May after having lost 10,500 jobs (revised) in April. I suspect that the May agent / brokerage numbers will be reused upward June, in part due to participation in the pay check protection program.
It looks like the insurance industry is doing it part to keep the economy moving.