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Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

Unemployment Drops & Hiring Optimistic in Insurance Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. Amidst a shaky reopening – could there be some signs of improvement in the job market?

In July, the U.S. added 1.8 million jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) reported on Friday, August 7. The numbers suggest three consecutive months of positive movement. While there is still a long way to go – the BLS indicated “notable” job gains in leisure and hospitality, government, retail trade, professional and business services, health care, and other services.

In addition, seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims fell by 249,000 to just under 1.2 million in the week ended August 1. Despite a historic streak – jobless claims have exceeded 1 million for twenty consecutive weeks – this is the lowest level reported since the onset of the pandemic. Improvements in the jobs report, and unemployment rates, may be a sign that the gradual reopening of businesses is beginning to reflect a resumption of economic activity amidst still-precarious conditions.

In addition, the hiring and employment outlook within the insurance industry appears to be rebounding. According to MarshBerry’s Market Pulse survey, firms are increasingly looking to hire again. In May, just under half of respondents indicated that hiring plans and open positions have been put on hold. However, recent survey results show that 66% of firms are ready to reactivate hiring activities – with 38% looking to fill existing open positions and 27% looking to fill new positions within the organization. Over 90% of larger firms ($10M in revenue or greater) continue to operate with active talent acquisition strategies.

While there is still much uncertainty looking towards the remaining half of the year (and beyond), we anticipate well-capitalized firms seizing unprecedented opportunities to attract new talent. This could include two interesting considerations for firms moving forward. Firms could look for candidates that have transferable skills from outside of the insurance sector. In addition, they could look to expand their pool of candidates beyond traditional geographic criteria with this newfound validation that working remotely can be both efficient and effective.

If you have questions about Today’s ViewPoint, or about creating a hiring strategy for your firm, please email or call Frank Cox at 616.426.8522.

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