More people continued to exit the mortgage industry, though the number mortgage broker employees increased slightly, according to a new government report. Overall U.S. unemployment surged, but the health care industry maintained growth.
In April, 356,800 people worked in mortgage-related positions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Mortgage jobs dropped from a revised 360,700 during March and were down from 454,000 a year earlier.
"Real estate credit" employees accounted for 245,000 of the latest total, down from 249,300 in March and 317,200 in April 2007, the report said. But "mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers" numbered 111,800, increasing from 111,400 the prior month, though down from 136,800 a year earlier.
Impacting April employment figures were around 3,000 layoffs resulting from Washington Mutual Inc.'s closing of all of its freestanding home loan offices.
The closing of Macquarie Securitisation Ltd. resulted in 69 layoffs, while 125 employees were affected by the closing of Centennial Mortgage and Funding and around 50 employees were left without jobs following the collapse of Fidelity Home Mortgage Corp. Another 65 employees found themselves unemployed when Unique Mortgage Solutions closed its doors, and 75 people were impacted by layoffs at InterBay Funding LLC.
Across all industries, U.S. unemployment surged to 5.5 percent in May from 5.0 percent the prior month, the bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, reported. The number of people unemployed last month was 8.5 million, 0.9 million higher than April.
Construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and temporary help services all saw declines in May -- though health care continued to add jobs.