Mortgage Daily

Published On: April 3, 2015

A bump in the number of broker jobs lifted overall non-bank mortgage employment. A weak U.S. employment report is having a favorable impact on bond yields and could help to further expand staffing in real estate finance.

Department of Labor data
released Friday indicate that the U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged from February at 5.5 percent last month.

The unemployment rate, however, has significantly improved from 6.6 percent in March 2014 and stands at it lowest level since May 2008, when the country was descending into a financial crisis and the rate was just 5.4 percent.

But the news, which is collected and reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was disappointing for U.S. non-farm
payroll growth, which rose by a meager 126,000 jobs in March — skidding from 264,000 jobs added the previous month.

To make matters worse, February’s total was revised down from 295,000 originally reported.

The decline was also significant versus March 2014, when an
upwardly revised 225,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy.

In response to the weakness, bond traders drove up the price on the 10-year Treasury note by a whopping 25/32 in early trading.
Bond yields — and interest rates on home loans — move lower when bond prices rise.

The jobs news was, however, better for just the mortgage industry, which saw
non-bank employment expand to a preliminary estimate of 282,600 people in February from 281,700 in January. The prior-month number was revised down from 282,200 originally reported.

Mortgage headcount, which is reported on a one-month lag, has also expanded from a year earlier, when staffing stood at a revised
278,000. The February 2014 total was originally reported at 283,700.

Jobs classified as “real estate credit” numbered 209,700 in February 2015, the same as the revised total for the prior month. This category has grown from a revised 207,200 in the same month last year.

There were 72,900 “mortgage and non-mortgage loan brokers,” rising from a revised 72,000 in January and a revised 70,800 in February 2014.

Using BLS data and origination market share data, Mortgage Daily estimates that total employment in the mortgage industry — including non-bank jobs and mortgage positions at financial institutions — was 566,800 in February of this year.

Mortgage Daily’s industry-wide estimate was up from a revised 564,900 in January. But the estimate has contracted from a revised 607,700 in February 2014.

While non-bank mortgage jobs have grown 2 percent on a year-over-year basis, mortgage jobs at federally insured banks declined 16 percent to an estimated 223,900.

Estimated mortgage employment at credit unions
slipped 3 percent from February 2014 to 60,300.

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