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Obama Administration Adjusts Mortgage Employment Data

Obama Administration Adjusts Mortgage Employment Data280,000 mortgage jobs in December

February 6, 2009

By staff

The first monthly employment data reported by the Obama administration reflected a downward adjustment of more than 50,000 mortgage-related jobs.During December, there were 280,000 people working in mortgage-related jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. Industry headcount dropped from a revised 284,800 in November and 339,700 in December 2007.

But data from last month’s employment report, the last under the Bush administration, reflected November mortgage employment of 337,600 — 52,800 jobs more than the new Barack Obama administration reported for the same month.

The bureau, in an announcement last week, indicated it would impose more scrutiny on individual state estimates. The intensified scrutiny led to a substantial divergence from the bureau’s results with nearly half of the states.

“The changes that [the Bureau of Labor Statistics] implemented to the state estimates review process more closely align it with the national estimate review process, and strengthen the consistency and transparency of the current employment statistics state estimation process,” last week’s statement said.

December’s figure included 204,900 people working in “real estate credit,” down from 241,300 the prior year and 208,600 the prior month. The previous report reflected 228,400 jobs in real estate credit during November.

“Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers” were 75,100, down from 98,400 in December 2007 and edging lower from 76,200 in November. The Bush administration reported brokers at 109,200 for November.

The numbers exclude temporary mortgage employees — which have seen thousands of assignments recently as mortgage rates briefly fell to record lows. In addition, growing FHA and reverse lending mortgage bankers have been adding staff on an ongoing basis.

But December layoffs still outpaced hirings in the mortgage sector. Contributing to the month’s job losses were the following companies.

December 2008 Mortgage Layoffs

Company Location Number of layoffs
Chase Home Lending San Ramon, Calif. 58
Chase Wholesale Lending national 175
CitiMortgage O’Fallon, Mo. 51
E-LOAN Inc. Pleasanton, Calif. 270
Flagstar Bancorp Inc. national 62
Genworth Financial Raleigh, N.C. 45
GreenPoint Mortgage Columbus, Ga. 220
HFF Inc. national 57
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Milwaukee 266
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Phoenix 100
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Jacksonville, Fla. 250
LIME Financial Services Ltd Lake Oswego, Ore. 100 (est.)
MortgageIT Inc. national 100 (est.)
Pulte Mortgage LLC Charlotte, N.C. 90
Solstice Capital Irvine, Calif. 65
Solstice Capital Nashville, Tenn. 20
Sovereign Bank national 25 (est.)
Washington Mutual Inc. Calif. and Fla. 396
Washington Mutual Chatsworth, Calif. 51
Wachovia Corp. Fla. 165

Overall U.S. employment was down “sharply” by 598,000 in January and is down 3.6 million since December 2007, according to the bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Unemployment rose to 7.6 percent last month from 7.2 percent in December.

“In January, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major industry sectors,” the report said.

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