Mortgage lenders added 1,800 full-time employees to their payrolls in May, according to an employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. The July BLS report shows that jobs in the mortgage banking/broker sector rose from to 503,000 in April to 504,800 in May. There is a one-month lag in BLS reporting of mortgage sector employment data. The June data will be released Aug. 5. Employment in the mortgage industry has been increasing for the past nine months due to continued strength in home sales and refinancings. Originators are hiring loan officers to capture more of the purchase market, according to Mortgage Bankers Association financial economist Jay Brinkmann. He also noted lenders are hiring to keep up with the processing demands of Alt-A and nonprime products. Friday's employment reports shows the U.S. economy generated 146,000 new jobs in June and the "economic expansion is continuing," Mr. Brinkmann said. "We have a continuation of non-inflationary growth, which is a nice spot for the mortgage industry."

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