Employment in the mortgage industry continued to take a pounding, even as activity in the segment is the strongest its been since last summer.
According to the latest numbers from the government's monthly employment report, there were 7,300 less people working in the mortgage industry in January than December.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the non-seasonally adjusted number of people employed in mortgage-related jobs totaled 432,500, down from the previous month's revised total of 439,800. In January 2003, the figure stood at 413,600.
Since last August, the agency said credit intermediation, which includes mortgage banking, has lost 22,000 jobs.
The bad news for the industry comes even as mortgage activity has recently strengthened; refinance applications are at their highest level since August, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported this week.
The mortgage employment total consists of 311,800 people working in Real Estate Credit and 120,700 mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers, according to bureau, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Employment numbers are reported about 30 days following the end of each month.
The report said the unemployment rate was 5.6% in February, unchanged from the previous month.