Government data indicate that although their was healthy growth in jobs for all industries last month, staffing in the home lending business weakened.
U.S. companies increased nonfarm employment by an estimated 242,000
jobs in February 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.
That was far more than the upwardly revised 172,000 increase in jobs reported for the prior month by the BLS, a division of the Department of Labor.
Employment growth has slowed, however, from the same month last year, when a downwardly revised 265,000 U.S. jobs were added.
The unemployment rate came in at 4.9 percent last month, the BLS said. There was no change from January.
But the unemployment rate has fallen compared to February 2015, when it was 5.5 percent.
"This was a mixed report with positives in the overall jobs figure for February, upward revisions to prior months, and another strong month for labor force entrants," National Association of Federal Credit Unions Chief Economist Curt Long said in a written statement. "The participation rate climbed again and is up one-half percentage point since September. But the wage figure was disappointing, particularly coming after a strong month in January.
"With that said, once inflation is considered, 2.2 percent wage growth is not terrible, and as the labor market continues to tighten we should see that figure climb."
In just the mortgage sector, the BLS data indicate
that there were 299,000 non-bank employees as of January.
Mortgage jobs contracted from
a month earlier, when industry-wide headcount was 301,000. The December 2015 total was revised down from 301,400 originally reported.
Mortgage employment grew, though, from the first month of last year, when the total was 282,800.
The January 2015 was revised up from 282,200 originally reported.
Jobs classified as "real estate credit" made up 219,000 of the latest mortgage total, off from 220,500 in December but up from 208,000 in January 2015.
"Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers" accounted for the remaining 80,000 in January 2016, down from 80,500 a month earlier but up from 74,800 a year earlier.
A Mortgage Daily analysis of BLS data and mortgage origination market share indicates that total mortgage industry employment -- including non-bank jobs and jobs at financial institutions -- came to an estimated 642,800 in January of this year.
Total home lending jobs fell from an estimated 647,100
in December 2015 but expanded from an estimated 604,800 in January 2015.
The most-recent total was comprised of 283,900 jobs at banks, 59,900 mortgage employees at credit unions and the 299,000 non-bank jobs reported by the BLS.