Employment in the mortgage industry held steady in December after lenders added 32,200 new employees to their payrolls in 2004, according to Friday's jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.The BLS reported that employment in the mortgage banking/broker sector rose by only 200 full-time positions in December to 486,400. (There is a one-month delay in the release of mortgage employment data. The BLS will release the January data on March 4.) Data for the full year show that the annual rate of employment in the mortgage industry rose by 6% in 2004, to 473,800. Meanwhile, Friday's employment report showed that the economy generated 146,000 new jobs in January, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.2%.

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