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Mortgage Jobs Drop Despite Broker Strength

10-year yield tumbles as dismal U.S. employment numbers released

June 1, 2012

By staff

While mortgage broker jobs posted a 4 percent monthly gain, overall mortgage employment was still lower. Although there wasn't much change in the year-over-year activity, the numbers from a year earlier were significantly revised higher. The data was also disappointing for the country as a whole -- sending the stock market spiraling to the lowest level this year and dragging down the 10-year Treasury yield to a level never seen before.

Headcount in real estate finance came in at 266,100 for April.

Staffing in the sector was lower than 267,600 people who worked in home lending during March.

But the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the number of mortgage jobs was mostly unchanged from the revised total of 266,300 for April 2011. The bureau, a division of the Department of Labor, originally reported mortgage employment at 239,400 for a year earlier -- an 11 percent revision.

More people were employed as "mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers," with the total climbing to 57,800 from March's 55,500. Broker employment was a revised 56,800 in April 2011.

It was "real estate credit" jobs that hurt the latest figures, falling to 208,300 from the prior month's 212,100. This category had a revised 209,500 employees during the same month in 2011.

Behind the dismal performance in April were companies like CitiMortgage Inc., which is laying off 750 people during the second quarter. Also hurting the sector was MetLife, where at least 600 employees are being let go in the second quarter as a result of its exit from traditional and reverse mortgage lending. Another hit came from Aurora Bank FSB as a result of 146 job cuts during April in Missouri.

The employment situation also deteriorated on the national front.

A meager 69,000 jobs were added during May -- the worst performance since August 2011, when U.S. employment was unchanged from the previous month.

The unemployment rate worsened, climbing to 8.2 percent from April's rate of 8.1 percent.

The disappointing national numbers were immediately apparent in the stock market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking around 175 points in early trading to approximately 12,215 -- the lowest level of 2012.

As investors flocked to the perceived safe haven of the U.S. Treasury market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note sank to 1.48 percent -- lower than yesterday's record-low close of 1.59 percent.

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