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Mortgage Jobs Fall as US Employment Data Weakens

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Monthly job growth within all U.S. industries weakened as unemployment worsened. After rising four straight month, non-bank mortgage employment retreated.

At 146.730 million, the U.S. nonfarm labor force increased by 156,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

Job growth slowed compared to the previous month, when nonfarm payroll employment expanded by a downwardly revised 189,000 positions.

Growth in the nation’s labor force also declined from August 2016, when an upwardly revised 176,000 jobs were added.

The BLS, a division of the Department of Labor, reported last month’s unemployment rate at 4.4 percent, worsening from 4.3 percent in July. But the rate was better than 4.9 percent in the same month last year.

August 2017’s labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.9 percent but minimally higher than 62.8 percent a year prior.

While the employment data was disappointing, National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions Chief Economist Curt Long noted, “The labor market is still in fine shape, but this report will augment the arguments of those in the Fed who want to hold off on a rate hike until inflation strengthens.”

Long said the trade group continues to believe the next rate hike won’t be until next year.

Within just the mortgage industry, which the BLS reports on a one-month lag, there were 340,800 non-bank jobs as of July.
Headcount declined from an upwardly revised 341,300 a month earlier after increasing each month since February 2017, when headcount was 331,700.

But the residential lending sector’s total stood above the upwardly revised 321,100 non-bank mortgage jobs a year earlier.

The latest mortgage total consisted of
242,500 “real estate credit” positions and 98,300 “mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers.”

Extrapolating the BLS’ non-bank data using origination market share, Mortgage Daily estimates that total mortgage industry employment, including positions at financial institutions, was 740,100 as of July.

The estimate consists of 319,500 home-lending employees at banks, 79,900
mortgage positions at credit unions and the 340,800 non-bank jobs reported by the BLS.

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