Insurance labor market: The good and the bad

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20728406_MThere’s a lot of talk these days about economic vibrancy, but here’s a startling statistic that is both good news and bad news for our industry: Our jobless rate is really, really low. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the insurance industry was 2.2 percent in January, significantly lower than the national 4.1 unemployment rate.

While it’s good that the industry continues to add jobs during a challenging time, the low unemployment rate spells trouble. It’s going to remain difficult to recruit qualified employees.

The latest Semi-Annual U.S. Insurance Labor Outlook Study by The Jacobson Group and Ward Group takes a detailed look at the labor market. Here are some of the study’s key takeaways:

  • Technology, actuarial and analytic positions are the most difficult to fill for the industry overall. It’s interesting to note, however, a difference between various sectors. In the Property & Casualty Commercial business, underwriting jobs are most in demand, followed by technology, claims and analytics positions.
  • Temporary employment is growing. Twelve percent of companies surveyed in January plan to add more temp workers, up from 11 percent the year before.
  • Companies plan to add 1.19 percent more jobs this year. The two biggest reasons? Expanding business (new markets) and an anticipated increase in business volume.
  • While optimism about revenue growth soared to 94 percent for life/health companies, it dropped three percentage points from the prior year for Property & Casualty companies. It remains fairly high, though, at 77 percent.