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Mortgage Jobs Contract

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The mortgage industry lost more than 16,000 jobs during the final month of last year as mortgage servicers required fewer employees to handle distressed loans. Staffing expanded, however, from the end of 2011 thanks to growth in broker jobs.

December 2012 finished with 272,900 people employed in the field of real estate finance.

The number of mortgage jobs tumbled from November, a month that saw mortgage headcount at an upwardly revised 289,300.

Among companies to impact December numbers were Bank of America, which confirmed last month that it has begun laying off servicing employees as its delinquency levels have subsided.

Citigroup Inc. disclosed in December plans to reduce its workforce by more than 11,000 positions in a variety of divisions. Some MetLife Home Loans layoffs were scheduled for the fourth quarter, and Wingspan Portfolio Advisors notified the state of Texas that it was laying off 459 employees in December — though the servicer, which reported headcount of 1,500 as of late 2012, subsequently said it still “expects to break the 2,000 mark in 2013.”

December’s mortgage employment data, which was reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was an improvement over December 2011, when mortgage staffing stood at a minimally revised 265,100,

“Real estate credit” employees finished last year at 203,500, dropping from 212,000 as of Nov. 30 and also lower than 207,000 at the end of 2011.

People classified as “Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers” occupied 69,400 positions, decreasing from 77,300 at the end of November.

But broker jobs were up from Dec. 31, 2011, when there were a revised 58,100.

Among all sectors, nonfarm employment increased by 157,000 in January, a few more than the 155,000 but still a lackluster performance.

U.S. unemployment, meanwhile, rose for the second consecutive month to 7.9 percent as of Jan. 31 from 7.8 percent as of the end of 2012.

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