It appears the long adjustment to the slowdown in originations that began last year may finally be over, as independent mortgage companies hired a couple hundred employees in May.
Nonbank mortgage companies added 200 full-time employees in May, after cutting 400 jobs in the prior month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.
Total employment in the nonbank mortgage banking and brokerage sector rose to 279,100 in May from 278,900 in April. Nearly 10,000 workers lost their jobs in this sector of the mortgage industry during the first four months of the year.
Originations were very weak in the fourth and first quarters and home sales were disappointing. "The housing market has been on pause for the last several months. Now it appears to be picking up on a seasonal basis," said Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan.
However, the Fannie economist notes that consumers have become very conservative when it comes to housing and taking on mortgage debt. And they are not seeing strong household income growth.
"This housing recovery will not always be up. There will be fits and starts," Duncan said in an interview.
Overall, the U.S. economy created 288,000 new jobs in May. The unemployment rate fell to 6.1% from 6.3% in April, the BLS reported. (There is a one-month lag in the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting of mortgage employment data.)