Mortgage lenders cut 2,900 full-time employees from their payrolls in November, wiping out a 2,500 increase in October that established a new high for jobs in the mortgage industry.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment in the mortgage banking/broker sector declined from 507,000 in October to 504,100 in November. Housing economists have been expecting a cutback, with single-family originations trending down during the second half of last year. Freddie Mac estimates that originations of conventional mortgages dropped from $715 billion in the second quarter to $597 billion in the fourth quarter. For the whole year, originations totaled $2.65 trillion, compared with $3.17 trillion in 2005, according to a December economic outlook report by the secondary-market agency. The Bureau of Labor Statistics can be found online at http://stats.bls.gov.

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