After experiencing surging jobless claims and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, the US has now seen positive employment numbers for the finance and insurance industry in the month of April amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a blog post written by Insurance Information Institute chief economist Dr Steven Weisbart, the recent employment report for May 2020 released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed surprising job gains for the insurance industry.
In April, it was reported that the unemployment percentage shot up to 14.7% and the number of people unemployed spiked to 20.7m. However, the comparable numbers for subsets like the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry were not released until a month later and became available last Friday.
Dr Weisbart found that P&C insurance carriers gained 3,000 jobs while life and annuity carriers gained 5,600 jobs in April.
However, he noted that health (mainly medical expense) carriers lost 1,900 jobs and insurance brokerage and agencies lost 15,200 jobs. He suspects that the agent/brokerage losses were at small businesses which will completely reverse these losses in May as a result of the ‘Paycheck Protection Program’ – a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
“It looks like the insurance industry is doing its part to keep the economy running,” said Dr Weisbart.