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Mortgage Jobs Increase But Likely to Decline

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Mortgage employment has expanded for eight consecutive months now, though recent market conditions are likely to lead to contraction.

U.S. employers added 178,000 nonfarm jobs in November. Growth accelerated from a downwardly revised 144,950 the prior month.

But job growth plummeted compared to the same month last year, when nonfarm payroll employment grew by an upwardly revised 280,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the Department of Labor, reported the latest employment numbers on Friday.

Unemployment tumbled to 4.6 percent last month — the lowest rate since August 2007’s 4.6 percent. Unemployment was 4.9 percent in October 2016 and 5.0 percent in November 2015.

The labor participation rate dipped to 62.7 percent from 62.8 percent a month earlier but increased from 62.5 percent a year earlier.

“November was a bit of a mixed bag as far as jobs were concerned,” National Association of Federal Credit Unions Chief Economist Curt Long said in a statement. “While the headline figure for job growth is a positive, both labor force participation and wage growth declined.

“Still, the report provided no impediments for a rate hike from the Fed later this month, and a quarter-point increase is now a certainty.”

Financial markets apparently saw November’s data as weak, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 2.38 percent near midday from
2.45 percent Thursday.

BLS data indicate that non-bank mortgage employment concluded October 2016 at
318,200. Mortgage jobs expanded from an upwardly revised 315,200 the prior month and an upwardly revised 301,400 a year prior.

Headcount in home lending has risen each month since February 2016, when staffing stood at 296,900.

The latest total in real estate finance included 229,600 “real estate credit” positions and 88,600 “mortgage and nonmortgage loan broker” jobs.

Based on an analysis of BLS data and mortgage origination market share data, Mortgage Daily estimates that total mortgage employment — including jobs at financial institutions — totaled 670,300 as of October 2016. Industry headcount increased from 663,900 the previous month and 627,300 the same month in 2015.

The latest mortgage total reflected an estimated 291,800 mortgage positions at banks, 60,300 jobs at credit unions and the 318,200 non-bank jobs reported by the BLS.

Although mortgage employment has been showing consistent growth, a recent escalation in interest rates since the election is curtailing refinance demand. With residential loan originations expected to significantly diminish, it is likely that mortgage bankers will begin scaling back on their staffing over the next few months.

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