Following a slight reprieve in October, mortgage employment continued to decline -- falling below 400,000.
During November, mortgage jobs totaled 391,900, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The figure was down from a revised 401,000 in October and way off 501,200 in November 2006.
The drop follows October's modest 1,600 job decline, though mortgage jobs had been tumbling for most of the year prior to that.
People working in "real estate credit" accounted for 269,400 of November's total while "mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers" represented 122,500, according to the bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Companies that reportedly laid off workers during November included Bank of America, which shut down its correspondent unit and laid off 105 employees; Chase Home Finance, which laid off 375 nonprime employees; MortgageIT, which eliminated 50 retail lending jobs; E-LOAN Inc., which gave 60-day advance layoff notices to 410 employees; NovaStar Mortgage Inc., which cut 275 jobs; Delta Financial Corp., which said it reduced staff by 470 employees; and WMC Mortgage Corp., which eliminated the jobs of 440 workers.
Also impacting mortgage employment was ResMAE Mortgage Corp., which halted all new business; the closings of Charter One Bank's specialty lending group, Valley Vista Mortgage, New State Mortgage, BrooksAmerica Mortgage Corp. and Paul Financial; UBS Home Finance, which was shut down by its parent; the collapse of Altivus Financial; and Liberty American Mortgage's halting of new broker business.
Unemployment, which the bureau reports shortly after the end of each month, was 7.7 million people for 5.0 percent in December -- jumping from 4.7 percent in November. Total employment last month was reported at 146.2 million.
Monster Worldwide Inc. reported that the Monster Employment Index was 169 during December, down from 183 in November but higher than 167 a year earlier.
"The financial sector also continued to show signs of a weaker job market in the wake of the subprime mortgage fallout," Monster said. "Online job availability for the finance and insurance industry declined 14 points, to its lowest level since May 2005. The category is now down eight points, or six percent, year-over-year."
More than one-third of financial professionals surveyed last month by the Association for Financial Professionals expect their organizations to boost their workforce this year while another 39 percent see their staffs holding at the same levels, the group announced.