Mortgage employment took a turn for the worse.
Industry-wide headcount came in at 249,400 as of Jan. 31.
The data was delivered by the Department of Labor on Friday.
Mortgage jobs tumbled from a revised 259,700 reported for December.
As of Jan. 31, 2010, the revised number for people working in real estate finance was 260,500.
In the “real estate credit” category, January ended with 192,400 people, falling from a revised 198,000 the prior month.
“Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers” numbered 57,000, sinking from December’s 61,700, according to the report, which was released by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among layoffs hurting January’s numbers were 587 interim employees at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage that were recently let go as a result of diminished refinance demand.
With new loan applications sharply lower at most major mortgage lenders during the fourth quarter, many other employers in the sector likely trimmed their ranks or are in the process of making such painful decisions about production staff.
But people who are exiting the industry apparently have a few more vocational options as overall U.S. employment grew by 192,000 jobs during February. The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.9 percent, improving from 9.0 percent in January.