Mortgage Daily

Published On: August 4, 2017

Employment data released today reflects a robust job market — sending interest rates higher. Mortgage employers added 5,000 non-bank jobs.

The U.S. nonfarm labor force finished July at 146.615 million people, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

U.S. employers boosted nonfarm payroll employment by 209,000 from June, slowing from an upwardly revised 231,000 jobs added a month earlier.

But activity ascended from a year earlier, when the nation’s staffing expanded by an upwardly revised 291,000.

Last month’s unemployment rate declined to 4.3 percent. The last time unemployment was lower was in February 2001, when it was 4.2 percent. The rate was 4.4 percent in June and 4.9 percent in July 2016.

At 62.9 percent, July’s labor force participation rate was a smudge better than 62.8 percent the prior month and a year prior.

In a written statement, Curt Long, the chief economist at the
National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, called the employment report “solid.”

“Hourly wages grew by 9 cents, but year-over-year growth remained stuck at a modest 2.5 percent,” Long said. “As for the Fed, the path is clear to begin tapering the balance sheet in September, but NAFCU continues to believe that a December rate hike is unlikely unless inflation strengthens in the coming months.”

Despite the trade group’s rate outlook, the price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 17/32 in early trading — driving the yield up 4 basis point from yesterday’s close.

While the worsening yield bodes poorly for mortgage refinances, which have long been expected to decline, the strong report
is a good sign for continued strength in home purchase financing.

The BLS provided metrics on mortgage employment, though on a one-month lag.

As of June 2017, there were
341,100 non-bank mortgage jobs. Headcount in real estate finance jumped from a month earlier, when there were a downwardly revised 336,100 jobs. Growth was far more robust versus the upwardly revised 316,000 jobs added in the same month last year.

The most-recent mortgage staffing number consisted of 242,800 employees classified as “real estate credit” and 98,300 “mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers.”

Using the BLS data and mortgage origination market share data, Mortgage Daily estimates that there were 740,800 mortgage jobs at both financial institutions and non-bank mortgage firms as of June 2017.

The estimated total was comprised of 319,700 home-lending positions at banks, 80,000 real estate finance jobs at credit unions and the 341,100 non-bank employees reported by the BLS.

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