The number of mortgage employees decreased for the third consecutive month.
There were 497,800 people with mortgage jobs in January, 2,900 fewer people than in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The latest total, however, is 24,100 higher than a year earlier.
Real estate credit employees accounted for about 71 percent of January's mortgage jobs, while mortgage and non-mortgage brokers made up the rest, according to the bureau, which reports the numbers about 30 days following the end of each month.
Among the mortgage players that recently announced layoffs are Waterfield Mortgage Co., which is in the process of eliminating 850 employees, Washington Mutual, which said it will cut approximately 2,500 mortgage employees, and Option One, which said it will reduce staff by about 600.
The unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in February, edging up 1 basis point from the first month of the year, said the bureau, a division of the Department of Labor.