Mar 01, 2015

Industry Highlight: Financial Activities Index

The financial activities industry saw an increase in employment with 26,000 jobs gained in January 2015, according to the latest job numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The biggest sub-sector gain was in insurance carriers and related activities with 14,000 jobs added. Securities, commodity contracts, and investments contributed 5,000 jobs to the gain. Over the past 12 months, the financial activities industry has added 159,000 jobs. The unemployment rate in the industry decreased to 3 percent in January 2015 from 3.4 percent the month before.

DCR TrendLine Financial Activities Employment Index

DCR TrendLine Financial Activities Employment Index

The financial activities industry is one with some of the highest mean wages in the country. The two largest occupations in securities and commodities contracts intermediation and brokerage, a sector under the Finance and Insurance Industry grouping – 1) securities, commodities, and 2) financial services sales agents and personal financial advisors – had annual mean wages of $130,800 and $104,900 respectively. These two occupations combine to make up about 41 percent of total industry employment.

Overall, in January 2015, average hourly earnings in the industry for all employees increased to $31.09, up from $31.01 in December 2014.

DCR TrendLine Financial Activities Wages Index

DCR TrendLine Financial Activities Wages Index

According to a recent survey by LIMRA Developmental and Strategic Research, consumers are showing the greatest confidence in financial sectors since 2008.

Consumer Confidence in Financial Sectors

Consumer Confidence in Financial Sectors

Source: LIMRA

Employment Growth in New York City without Wall Street

Over the past five years, New York City has created more jobs than during any five-year period in the last fifty years. However, something is still missing – Wall Street. Historically, the city has relied on big investment banks and brokerage firms to pull its economy out of recessions. During the 1990s boom, the securities industry accounted for more than 10 percent of all jobs added in the city’s private sector; this time it has only contributed less than 1 percent.

Economists say that this is good news. For the first time in decades, New York is proving that it can grow rapidly without leaning on Wall Street. Since the end of 2009, the city has added about 425,000 jobs, raising total employment to 4.1 million jobs.

Wages have been growing steadily in New York City, but the average wage for all jobs at $87,642 is still lower than it was in 2007. Experts attribute it to the pay on Wall Street not having returned to pre-recession levels.

“The diversified nature of the job growth is a very positive sign, and it augurs well for the job recovery going forward. It’s not going to be derailed by a bursting bubble or financial services going off the rails.” ~Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics

Occupational Profile: Financial Analyst

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. National employment for this occupation is 250,670 with a mean annual wage of $91,620. New York has the highest employment level for financial analysts with 34,850 people employed in this position, and also the highest annual mean wage at $120,060.

Other top paying states include Oregon, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

According to BLS, the job outlook for this occupation is faster than average, with a growth of 16 percent expected by 2022.

Employment of Financial Analysts by State

Employment of Financial Analysts by State

Source: BLS

“While confidence levels aren’t what they were prior to the Great Recession, the financial services industry is slowly earning back the trust and confidence of the American people.” ~Jennifer Douglas, Associate Research Director at LIMRA Developmental and Strategic Research