Nonbank mortgage employment reaches a 10-year high

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Monthly hiring by nondepositories in housing finance set a new record for the decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There was an estimated total of 333,100 people on nonbank mortgage banker and broker payrolls in August, and that's the highest number recorded since at least 2010.

Prior to August, payrolls were large but still within the bounds seen in the past few years. July's total for the industry, which was upwardly revised to 324,000 from 323,300, had approached the previous decade high of 325,900 seen in August 2017.

Due to the heavy rate-driven demand for loans, lenders have increasingly turned to third parties for help and those outsourcers in turn are among the companies in the market hiring.

Evolve Mortgage Services, for example, hired more than 100 underwriters to help its lender clients over the past 90 days and plans to hire another 100 by year-end.

Whether there will continue to be a high level of volume and hiring after that, however, remains to be seen, Evolve CEO Paul Anselmo said.

"There are a lot of 'what-ifs,'" he said.

It's unclear how the outcome of the federal election could affect volume, and the mortgage business typically slows in the winter, Anselmo noted.

Also, a fee for refinancing the government-sponsored enterprises plans to add in December could diminish demand for loans — unless widespread industry opposition stops it.

"It's already been delayed once. There's incredible pushback. I think it'll be delayed again," Anselmo said.

Another factor that will have a bearing on mortgage demand is overall employment, which is reported with less of a lag than nonbank mortgage jobs.

Total U.S. jobs rose by 661,000 in September. In July, the BLS reported that overall employment was up 1.8 million.

The unemployment rate declined to 7.9% in September from 8.4% in August.

With an approximate adjustment for a misclassification error that's affected unemployment numbers since March, the unemployment rate would have been 0.4% higher in September. That adjustment is likely overstated, according to the BLS.

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Employment data Nonbank Mortgage brokers Bureau of Labor Statistics Mortgage rates Recruiting