The rapid decline in mortgage job losses slowed in October, though employment in the sector was still down more than 100,000 from last year. Brokers were responsible for the latest monthly decline.
During October, there were 401,500 people working in mortgage related jobs, off about 1,600 employees from September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Compared to a year earlier, however, employment in real estate finance was down 103,200.
"Real estate credit" jobs were reported at 273,800, actually rising from 272,800 during September, according to the bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. But "mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers" fell by 2,600 to 127,700.
Mortgage employment figures are reported about 30 days following the end of each month.
Helping to boost mortgage employee jobs during October were JPMorgan Chase & Co., which said it had boosted its mortgage sales force during from the prior year; UMAX Mortgage, which said it planned to add 100 originators; Vertical Lend, which announced 100 new hires and plans to add 60 more; Flagstone Lending Group, which hired 80 former Market Street Mortgage Corp. employees; and WestAmerica Mortgage Co., which picked up former America Home Mortgage employees and said it planned to add another 175.
Offsetting those hirings, however, were layoffs at Chase, which had to let 100 Kentucky employees go; Residential Capital LLC, which announced 3,000 layoffs; Summit Mortgage LLC, which shut down -- leaving 140 employees out of work; Nomura Holdings Inc., which disclosed plans to layoff 400 people; MortgageIT Inc., which let 580 employees go; The Mortgage Store, which halted new business and laid off nearly all of its estimated 300 employees; Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. which consolidated mortgage operations and cut 310 jobs; and Morgan Stanley, which restructured its mortgage business and laid of 500 people.
But a recent survey of over 350 Human Resource Executives from leading financial service institutions by Claymore Partners indicated over half of the respondents are still planning on increasing professional hiring in 2008. The firm said 90 percent of the respondents "indicated that the impact of the credit crisis on their 2008 hiring plans would be slight or have no impact."
But Claymore did note specific investment banking and mortgage firms and areas that are deeply and directly impacted by the credit crisis are cutting back on hiring plans in specific areas -- though "the impact does not seem to be wide spread at this point."
Unemployment reported by the bureau was 4.7 percent in November, unchanged. Nonfarm payroll employment was up 94,000 in November.