After an up-and-down year, the number of employees working at nonbank mortgage companies totaled 291,900 in December, down only 2% from a year ago.
Lenders have been trimming their payrolls since July when employment in the mortgage banking/broker sector peaked at 307,200 on refinancing demand.
This job trimming continued into December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, as lenders reduced their payrolls by 2,600 full-time employees from the month prior, leaving total sector employment at 291,900.
Friday's jobs report had better news on the housing front as single-family and multifamily builders hired or called backed 16,800 construction workers in January.
The number of jobs in commercial and residential construction jumped by 48,000 in January after a 22,000 decline in December due to severe winter weather.
Overall, the U.S. economy created 113,000 jobs in January, up from 75,000 in December. BLS also reported that the unemployment rate fell to 6.6% in January from 6.7% in January.
(There is a one-month lag in the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting of mortgage employment data.)