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Bureau of Labor Statistics Changes Mortgage Employment Reporting

Labor statistics revised, no longer sum up brokers

June 10, 2003


Mortgage brokers will no longer be counted as a separate occupation in the government's monthly employment reports.

In overhauling its occupation-classification system data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has revamped its finance categories, eliminating a separate category for the mortgage broker. Beginning with the currently released data for May employment figures, "Credit intermediation and related activities" will include a myriad of occupations including mortgage brokers, according to a statement included with the latest employment numbers.

While the new classification does have a detailed category listing for "mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers," the numbers for May weren't released separately for that classification.

The statement said that the new "Credit intermediation" category added 19,000 jobs in May.

For May 2003, the number of people employed in credit intermediation was estimated at 2,788,600, up from 2,769,300 in April and 2,663,800 in May of 2002, according to the data. All those numbers have been seasonally adjusted.

This new category of "credit intermediation," in addition to including mortgage brokers, also counts people working in sales financing, consumer lending, clearing house activities, real estate credit, credit card issuing, and other related fields.

Other occupations have also undergone reclassification as a result of the BLS's transitioning into a new data reporting system. The new system is called the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The old system, the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), was developed in the 1930s, according to BLS. After surviving through several revisions, it has been scrapped for NAICS, which is a collaborative effort with Canada and Mexico.

According to BLS, the new system will allow for "emerging economic activities." The new design allows "establishments using similar raw material inputs, similar capital equipment, and similar labor" to be classified in the same industry, the statement said.

For comparison purposes, the BLS said that it has recalculated prior month's industry employment numbers to coincide with the new classifications. Therefore, numbers for April reported on the new release may differ from numbers released last month for April under the old classification system.

The information used to compile this employment data continues to be collected in cooperation with state agencies, from payroll records, the statement said.

Anne Lineberry is MortgageDaily.com's editor. She previously worked as an online editor/producer for DallasNews.com and on the Metropolitan desk for the print edition of The Dallas Morning News. Email Anne at [email protected]

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