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5th Consecutive Month of Mortgage Job Losses

Mortgage employment suffered its fifth straight month of declines. Job growth weakened for all U.S. industries as a whole.

The collective U.S. mortgage staff, including jobs classified as “real estate credit” and “mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers,” totaled 291,900 in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Headcount in real estate finance fell from the previous month, when 294,500 people were in the business. November’s number was significantly revised up from 280,600 originally reported.

The numbers were also lower than in December 2012, when the total was 297,600. The year-earlier number was originally reported far lower at 272,900.

In fact, the bureau revised it numbers for “real estate credit” up every month since April 2012, while each month was revised down for “mortgage and nonmortgage brokers.”

The reported mortgage industry total excludes mortgage jobs in other industries such as commercial banking. Mortgage Daily has previously estimated that the number of mortgage job among all industries exceeds 1 million.

Impacting the latest numbers were Bank of America Corp.; where around 450 layoffs have been identified specifically in December and another 4,000 have been reported for the entire fourth quarter; CashCall Inc., which laid off 769 employees on Dec. 1; and Citigroup Inc., where 700 employees were terminated on Dec. 20, and hundreds more were laid off at some point during the fourth quarter.

Jobs in “real estate credit accounted for 218,100 of December’s mortgage jobs, off from 219,800 a month earlier and 222,300 a year earlier.

“Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers” accounted for another 73,800 mortgage jobs, fewer than 74,700 in November and 75,300 in December 2012.

The bureau, a division of the Department of Labor, reported that U.S. nonfarm payroll employment for all industries increased by 113,000 in January — a weak showing. In response to the employment report, the price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 10/32 in mid-morning trading. Treasury yields move lower when prices move higher.

Still, U.S. job growth picked up from December, when just 74,000 jobs were added. Fewer than 175,000 monthly jobs added is considered weak.

The U.S. unemployment rate, however, improved, falling to 6.6 percent from December’s 6.7 percent rate. Unemployment hasn’t been this low since October 2008, when it stood at 6.5 percent.

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