Mortgage lenders added 3,000 full-time employees to their payrolls in August as home sales remained strong and refinancing picked up.Employment in the mortgage banker/broker sector rose from 522,200 in July to 525,200 in August, according to the Oct. 7 job report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (There is a one-month lag in BLS reporting of mortgage-sector employment data. The September data will be released Nov. 4.) Since August 2004, employment in the mortgage industry has grown by 9.3% with the addition of 44,300 new hires. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy lost 35,000 jobs in September in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, raising the unemployment rate to 5.1%, up from 4.9% in August. The effects of Hurricane Rita should show up in October's job report. The BLS can be found online at http://stats.bls.gov.

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