Led by an increase in brokers, monthly mortgage employment improved -- though more than 13,000 people have exited the industry during the past year.
People employed in the mortgage industry totaled 491,300 during February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today. The latest month was 3,000 higher than January's revised figure but 13,200 worse than February 2006.
Employment by industry is reported about five weeks following the end of each month.
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers accounted for 141,900 of February's employment, climbing from 139,200 a month earlier, according to the data. It is common for displaced originators and mid-level executives to become mortgage brokers.
Real estate credit employees amounted to 349,400 of the latest period, edging up slightly from January, the agency reported.
Job activity during February included growth at Quicken Loans, which says it has been adding more than 250 employees each month to its current staff of more than 4,300; Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which gave 320 employees notice; and Washington Mutual Inc., which laid off 250 subprime employees.
March unemployment was 4.4 percent, "essentially unchanged" from February, according to the bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor.