After a cruel winter, nonbank mortgage companies have started warming to the idea that spring is coming and it's time to start hiring again.
Mortgage banking and brokerage firms added 900 full-time employees to their payrolls in February, after cutting 6,400 in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The BLS originally estimated that lenders had cut 5,900 jobs in January.
Taking account the revision, employment in the mortgage banking/broker sector rose to 282,600 in February, up from 281,700 in January. There is a one-month lag in the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting of mortgage employment data.
The next report should show a further pickup in industry hiring. March data showed a bounce back in pending home sales and mortgage applications, "raising hopes that this year's spring selling season will see real gains," according to economists at Wells Fargo Securities.
"We expect purchase applications will improve this spring," adds the April 2 WFS Housing Chartbook report.
Overall, Friday's jobs report was disappointing. It showed the U.S. economy created just 126,000 jobs in March — way below the consensus of 200,000-plus new jobs. The unemployment rate was steady, at 5.5%.