Driven by more industry consolidations and closings, mortgage jobs declined by more than 5,000 in December from 30 days earlier -- though they were down by more than 100,000 from the prior year.
There were 369,000 people working in mortgage-related jobs during December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of real estate finance jobs fell from 374,600 reported in November and were way off 483,600 a year earlier.
December's figures included 253,100 people employed in "real estate credit" and 115,900 "mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers," the report said.
December's mortgage employment level was impacted by an announcement from Washington Mutual Inc. of plans to lay off 2,600 employees in its home loans business; the collapse of Family First Mortgage Corp., which had employed 941 people earlier in the year; 900 wholesale lending layoffs announced by National City Mortgage; the termination of operations at Option One Mortgage Corp., resulting in 620 unemployed people; LendingTree LLC's disclosure that it cut 220 California and Florida jobs; Bear Stearns & Co. Inc.'s elimination of 150 Irvine, Calif., positions; Heartland Bank's decision to close Heartland Wholesale Mortgage, leaving about 62 employees out of work; the closing of wholesale offices wholesale offices in Illinois, Arizona and Washington by Webster Bank resulting in 60 layoffs; the closing of ComUnity Lending, impacting about 60 remaining employees; and around 50 employees who were left jobless after Secured Bankers Mortgage Co. imploded.
Maryland-based Futurize Your Career is offering services to aid mortgage employers in helping their employees prepare for possible layoffs.
A 157-page e-book, Futurize Your Career E-Book: 5 Strategies to Protect Your Future In Volatile Times, discusses how to identify the possibility of layoff, what employees can expect after being laid off and how to move on.
A decline in construction and manufacturing jobs offset by growth in health care jobs left overall nonfarm payroll employment down just 17,000 positions in January, according to the bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Last month's unemployment rate was "essentially unchanged" at 4.9 percent.