More than 5,000 people were eliminated from the ranks of mortgage employees, according to the latest monthly government report. And preliminary data indicate next month's data will be way worse.
During March, 484,100 people were employed in mortgage lending, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure was down from a revised 489,800 for February and 503,300 a year earlier.
"Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers" accounted for 141,400 of March's figure, off slightly from 141,800 the previous month, according to the bureau -- a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. But people in "real estate credit" dropped 5,300 from February to 342,700.
Accounting for some of the agency's March numbers, which are reported around 30 days after the end of each month, were layoffs at Fannie Mae, a consolidation at WMC Mortgage and the closure of mortgage operations at Fremont General Corp.
A recent analysis of mortgage layoff data by MortgageDaily.com indicates April figures, likely to be released by the beginning of June, will reflect a decline more than double March's drop.
Unemployment in April was reportedly unchanged at 4.5 percent.