Employment in the mortgage industry edged down in March after lenders added 6,500 full-time employees to their payrolls in February.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment in the mortgage banker/broker sector slipped by 400 jobs to 504,400 in March. During March, the 30-year mortgage rate inched up to 6.4%, but mortgage applications held fairly steady compared to the previous month. Friday's jobs report also shows that hiring in the construction trades has come to a halt after large gains in January and February. As previously reported, single-family housing starts fell 11.2% in March. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy created 138,000 new jobs in April compared to 200,000 in March. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.7%.

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