Mortgage lenders have broken out of the doldrums and appear to be hiring with enthusiasm for the first time in a year, according to the latest industry employment figures.
Nonbank mortgage companies hired 2,200 full-time employees in June, while the initial hiring estimate for May was revised from 200 hires to 1,100, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Industry-specific employment data has a one-month lag behind the Bureau of Labor Statistics' aggregate employment data.
Overall, employment in the nonbank mortgage banking/broker sector rose to 282,200 in June, up from 280,000 in May, but still down 8% from the same month a year ago, when employment totaled 306,500.
The June report marks the second consecutive monthly increase and follows a 10-month-long run of declines going back to July 2013. This uptrend likely reflects higher demand during the traditional homebuying season, though industry employment is still down 25,000 jobs since July 2013.
Friday's job report also showed a pickup in hiring by homebuilders.
"Construction employment increased by 22,000 in July, with residential construction builders contributing 6,000 to the gain," BLS commissioner Erica Groshen said in a statement. Residential builders have hired 55,000 workers over the past 12 months, up 9% from a year ago.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy created 209,000 new jobs in July, compared to an upwardly revised 298,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2% in July from 6.1% in the prior month.