Mortgage companies shed 200 employees in November, according to the latest national employment report, ending a 20-month hiring spree that added over 53,000 full-time employees to their payrolls.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment in the mortgage industry slipped from 533,900 in October to 533,700 in November. The last hiccup in hiring occurred in August 2004 when employment slipped by 100 positions in September 2004. The Mortgager Bankers Association says it expects to see more declines this year in mortgage industry employment as origination volumes decline from 2005 levels. However, the contraction in employment could be offset because purchase mortgage originations, which are labor-intensive, are expected to remain at high levels, MBA financial economist Jay Brinkmann pointed out. And loan officers can still do fairly well with lower volumes because the average loan size has risen substantially over the past few years. "So we might not see some of the same shrinkage" in loan officers and mortgage brokers as in the past, Mr. Brinkmann said.

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