By Dr. Steven Weisbart, Chief Economist, Insurance Information Institute
The employment report for May 2020, just released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, has some surprising numbers. I’m not referring to the national employment or unemployment numbers (although they are surprising) but to the employment numbers for April for the insurance industry.
In April, you might remember, the numbers for the national economy were dreadful. The unemployment percentage shot up to 14.7 percent, and the number of people unemployed spiked to 20.7 million. The comparable numbers for subsets like the property/casualty (P/C) insurance industry aren’t released until a month later, but they became available today.
In April, P/C insurance carriers gained 3,000 jobs and life/annuity carriers gained 5,600 jobs! In April, health (mainly medical expense) carriers lost 1,900 jobs, and insurance brokerage and agencies lost 15,200 jobs. I suspect that the agent/brokerage losses were at small businesses that, in May, will completely reverse these losses as a result of the Paycheck Protection Program.
It looks like the insurance industry is doing its part to keep the economy running.