|Despite a surge in refinance-related hirings, the mortgage sector failed to muster up enough new hirings to offsets job cuts.
There were 271,800 people employed in mortgage-related jobs during January, data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
January's U.S. headcount fell from a revised 279,800 for December, the report said. Mortgage jobs were down more than 9 percent from a revised 307,900 during January 2008.
Employees in "real estate credit" accounted for 198,200 of January's mortgage employment total, down from 204,700 during December. "Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers" were 73,600, off from 75,100.
The deterioration came despite a wave of hirings that emerged as refinance activity soared.
Among companies to add mortgage jobs during January were:
- Adecco USA, which is filling "thousands" of U.S. mortgage openings;
- Talent Tree, which is recruiting more than 1,000 people for temporary mortgage assignments in 11 states;
- GMAC Mortgage LLC, which is adding 700 servicing jobs;
- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which is hiring hundreds of temporary employees to help it meet increased mortgage demand;
- ServiceLink, which is recruiting for more than 150 jobs;
- Aerotek, which is filling around 125 contract mortgage positions in Virginia; and
- Shore Mortgage, which is recruiting 100 new employees in the first quarter.
Layoff activity in January that was tied to mortgage lending included:
- 1,892 California layoffs in the first quarter at JPMorgan Chase Bank;
- 300 planned Florida layoffs at JPMorgan Chase & Co.;
- 170 employees impacted by the collapse of Homebridge Mortgage Bankers Corp.;
- 165 employees impacted by the closing of Solstice Capital;
- 62 positions eliminated by First Federal Bank of California, FSB;
- 50 employees who worked for failed 1st Republic Mortgage Bankers; and
- an undisclosed number of employees impacted by the closure of MortgageIT Inc.'s wholesale division closing.
The bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, said overall U.S. employment fell 651,000 in February. The job losses were large and widespread and touched most major industries. Unemployment jumped to 8.1 percent in February from 7.6 percent in January.