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Strength in mortgage broker employment wasn’t enough to offset monthly job losses at real estate lenders. But overall mortgage employment has significantly improved over the past year. U.S. employment across all industries strengthened.

During the month of October, 284,500 people were classified as working in the mortgage industry.

The ranks of real estate finance employees slipped from September, when headcount in the sector was a revised 285,000.

The data, which is preliminary for October, was released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Industry hirings have outpaced layoffs since October 2011, when mortgage employment stood at a revised 262,900.

The weakening from September was among people who were classified as “real estate credit,” with headcount dropping to 217,300 from the previous month’s 218,800.

Impacting the decline were Bank of America, which laid of 200 Maine employees on Oct. 31; is reducing its Fort Lauderdale, Fla., staff by 675 during the fourth quarter; and is laying off several dozen in other cities during the fourth quarter. In addition, Citigroup Inc. is laying off more than a hundred employees in the final three months of this year.

But “mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers” expanded to 67,200 during the most recent month from a revised 66,200 in September.

Total nonfarm employment for all U.S. industries was up by 146,000 in November, according to the BLS, a division of the Department of Labor.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent last month from 7.9 percent in October. Unemployment has tumbled from a year earlier, when the rate was 8.6 percent.

“Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the Northeast coast on October 29th, causing severe damage in some states,” the bureau’s report said. “Nevertheless, our survey response rates in the affected states were within normal ranges. Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.”

In response to today’s labor report, the price of the 10-year Treasury note — which moves in the opposite direction of the yield — was down 10/32 in early trading. The 10-year market activity places upward pressure on mortgage rates.

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