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Mortgage Staffing Expands as US Jobs Report Strong

Government makes significant revisions to prior data

Feb. 2, 2018

By Mortgage Daily staff

New employment data, which has been revised for the past couple years, indicate job growth turned higher last month. Monthly mortgage jobs took a unexpected turn higher.

As of January, U.S. nonfarm payroll employment totaled 147.81 million people. That turned out to be a gain of 200,000 jobs from the upwardly revised level for the end of 2017.

Labor force expansion accelerated from an upwardly revised 160,000 jobs in December. But job gains fell short of the upwardly revised 259,000 jobs added in January 2017.

The data was reported Friday by the Bureau of Labor statistics.

Unemployment was 4.1 percent last month, the same rate it has been since October 2017 and the lowest rate since it was 3.9 percent in December 2000. The unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in January 2017.

The report indicated that the labor participation rate was 62.7 percent, also unchanged for three months. The rate was lower than 62.9 percent in January 2017.

Curt Long, chief economist for the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions, call the jobs report "solid."

"But the big news was a solid increase in wage growth to 2.9 percent, which is the high-water mark for the recovery," Long stated. "This provides even more ammunition for the Fed to raise rates next month."

In the mortgage industry, which is reported on a one-month lag, there were 341,500 non-bank jobs as of December 2017. Home-lending jobs expanded from a downwardly revised 338,800 a month earlier and a downwardly revised 333,400 a year earlier.

Included in the latest total were 247,500 employees classified as "real estate credit" and 94,000 "mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers." Monthly real estate credit jobs data for almost all of 2017 and much of 2016 have been revised higher in the latest report, while broker data was revised down.

Mortgage Daily estimates that total mortgage industry employment, including jobs at financial institutions, ended last year at 665,200 people - including 260,300 home-lending positions at banks, 63,400 mortgage employees at credit unions and the 341,500 non-bank jobs reported by the BLS.

The overall estimate, which is based on an extrapolation of the BLS data using origination market share, increased from an upwardly revised 659,900 in November and a downwardly revised 660,100 in December 2016.

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