MAY 3, 2013 10:44am ET

Mortgage Companies Continue Hiring in March

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Mortgage companies added 1,600 full-time employees to their payrolls in March, according to a newly released government report.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning that employment in the mortgage banking and brokerage sector rose to 288,900 in March from 287,300 in February.

The BLS jobs report shows lenders were hiring in all three months of the first quarter. However, total industry employment is down slightly from 289,100 reported in December. (The February head count was revised upward by 500 jobs.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy created 165,000 jobs in April, compared to 138,000 in March. The March figure was revised upward from 88,000.

The hiring by builders and contractors appears disappointing at first glance with the loss of 6,000 construction jobs. But most of the job losses were in commercial construction.

Multifamily and single-family builders hired 13,300 new construction workers in April, down from 18,000 in March.

(There is a one-month lag in reporting mortgage employment data.)

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