By now, most professionals are familiar with the term, “the Great Resignation.” As physical offices begin to reopen and the economy continues to rebound, the overall rate of quits in the United States was at a record high in April*. Within insurance, while relatively high, the rate of quits was still slightly below that reported for August 2020 and January 2021. “The Great Reshuffle” seems to be more appropriate for the current reality of the insurance industry.
Unemployment for the insurance carriers and related activities sector rose slightly in May to 2.5%. While the insurance industry as a whole has lost 15,000 jobs since February, the average unemployment rate for 2021 so far is a mere 2.3%. Property and casualty, and life and health carriers have seen the bulk of the job losses at 4,000 each.
The insurance industry saw the unemployment rate fall to just 2% in April, its lowest since March 2020 and comparable to 2019’s pre-pandemic numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported a loss of 7,000 insurance jobs; however, it’s likely these numbers will be revised in subsequent months’ reports. The overall U.S. economy saw unemployment remain relatively flat and added 266,000 jobs; unfortunately, this is far from the 1 million job increase many economists were anticipating.
The insurance carriers and related activities sector remained strong in the first quarter of 2021. Initially, the BLS reported a loss of 9,300 insurance jobs for January 2021, marking the first decline since recovery from COVID-19’s impact began in May 2020. However, the BLS revised this number to reflect an increase of 2,300 jobs in January and a loss of just 4,900 roles in February. Accounting for BLS adjustments and a reported increase of 11,200 roles in March 2021, the insurance carriers and related activities sector continues to grow, employing 31,800 more individuals than it did in March 2020.
The insurance industry saw unemployment hold steady at 2.2% in February. However, the industry also experienced its second consecutive month of job losses since recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic began. The majority of losses appear to be in life/health and claims roles. In our Q1 2021 Insurance Labor Outlook Study, conducted in partnership with Aon plc, 14% of life/health insurers shared they were planning to decrease staff in the next 12 months. However, it’s likely this decline is temporary, as 43% of life/health insurers reported plans to increase staff in the same time period. Claims roles also saw a notable decrease, with a 9.5% decline in employment in January* 2021.