Competition limits the decline in nonbank mortgage employment

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The number of workers employed by non-depository mortgage companies experienced a typical seasonal drop month-to-month, but employment remained higher than a year ago due to the persistence of competitive hiring practices.

Workers employed by nonbank mortgage companies in October totaled 341,500, down from 344,000 in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But total nonbank mortgage job numbers are up from 339,000 a year earlier.

The higher year-to-year levels of nonbank mortgage employment suggest housing finance companies are still hoping that investment in sales talent will help offset declining profitability.

An expected shakeout in the mortgage industry has yet to fully materialize in the nonbank sector, although there have been layoffs and consolidation involving both depository and non-depository institutions.

In contrast to the slight decline in nonbank mortgage jobs, broader employment numbers that are published with less of a lag than the industry-specific figures were higher in the latest BLS report.

Total employment increased by 155,000 in November, but companies added fewer jobs to their payrolls than in October, when 250,000 jobs were added. Unemployment remained at 3.7% for the third consecutive month in November.

"As seen in November's jobs report, the labor market remains quite strong, with the unemployment rates still near 50-year lows, and wage growth above 3% on an annual basis," said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, in a press release. "With home-price growth also slowing and mortgage rates easing a bit, sustained wage growth of better than 3% certainly helps affordability conditions as we head into 2019."

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Employment data Nonbank Mortgage brokers Housing market Layoffs Home prices Bureau of Labor Statistics Mortgage Bankers Association