Mortgage Sector Continues to Reduce Staffing

Nonbank mortgage companies trimmed their payrolls in November for the fifth straight month as demand for loans continues to decline.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning that mortgage banking and brokerage firms reduced their payrolls by 3,600 full-time employees in November after cutting 1,600 employees in the prior month.

Overall employment in the mortgage sector fell to 280,600 in November from 284,200 in October. Employment in the mortgage banking/broker sector peaked last June at 295,000. Since then, demand for single-family loans has been falling due to higher mortgage rates and declining refinance volumes.

Friday's jobs report shows the U.S. economy created just 74,000 jobs in December, compared to an upwardly revised 241,000 jobs in November. BLS also reported that the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in December from 7% in November.

(There is a one-month lag in the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting of mortgage employment data.)

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