Mortgage employment fell below 500,000 for the first time since January 2006.
Jobs in real estate finance totaled 494,700 in December, falling from a revised 501,200 in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. December jobs were down from a revised 500,500 a year earlier.
The last time mortgage jobs fell below a half million was in January 2006, when the agency reported 497,800 people with mortgage-related jobs.
The latest totals were comprised of
The department said 350,000 people worked in "real estate credit" during December, falling from 356,100 in November and driving the overall decline. "Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers" were 144,700, edging down from November.
Among mortgage companies to lay off employees during December were Sovereign Bancorp . ABN AMRO announced plans for future job cuts during December, as did Washington Mutual.
The unemployment rate was 4.6 percent, representing seven million people, according to the bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor.