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U.S. employment — and related total workers compensation premium — is likely to recover more slowly this year than it did during the summer and fall of 2020, according to an economic outlook report issued Wednesday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
U.S. employment recovered in every month from April to November 2020, but the pace of recovery slowed to near zero in the 4th quarter, according to the report, which noted the total number of unemployed increased modestly from November to December.
At year-end 2020, four out of five lost jobs were concentrated in service sectors, characterized by high physical proximity and low essentiality, and two out of five lost jobs were in leisure and hospitality, according to the report.
Risks in 2021 include an increasing share of permanent layoffs, economic distress among low-wage earners and small businesses, and a massive virus resurgence, the report said.
The post-COVID-19 economy is likely to see employment shifts across industries, with an intensification of existing trends toward digitization, automation, contract work arrangements and remote work, according to the report.
Net written premium in the workers compensation industry for 2019 calendar year dipped slightly from the prior year to $42 billion for private insurers, according to a report released Monday by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, but given the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, the ratings agency declined to provide estimates for 2020.