Mortgage companies trimmed 1,400 full-time employees from their payrolls in December, following 2,000 job cuts in November.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment in the mortgage banker/broker sector declined to 500,900 in December from 502,300 in November. BLS previously reported that mortgage firms shed 200 employees in November. But a year-end benchmark revision now shows that companies actually were more aggressive in cutting their payrolls. Overall, industry employment averaged 489,900 in 2005, compared with 467,700 in 2004. In the past few weeks, MortgageWire has reported on layoffs at prime and subprime lenders alike, including Ameriquest Mortgage, Argent Mortgage, Aurora Loan Services, BNC Mortgage, ECC Capital Corp., and Countrywide Home Loans. (See the Feb. 6 issue of National Mortgage News for more employment-related stories.) The BLS can be found online at http://stats.bls.gov.

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