Mortgage lenders and brokers added 8,000 full-time employees to their payrolls in October after completing a robust third quarter in which originations hit levels not seen in two years.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that employment in the mortgage industry rose from 527,400 in September to 535,400 in October. (There is a one-month lag in BLS reporting of mortgage-sector employment data. The November data will be released Jan. 6.) The number of people working in the mortgage industry has increased by more than 100,000 since January 2004. But it appears that the housing boom has reached a turning point, and additional hiring may end soon. The Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage application index dropped from 713.5 in the last week of September to 635.5 for the week ended Nov. 18. Friday's employment report indicates that the U.S. economy generated 215,000 new jobs in November and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0%. The BLS can be found online at http://stats.bls.gov.

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