Despite recent industry consolidation, demand from seasonal homebuyers spurred hiring among nonbank mortgage companies for the second consecutive month in May.

There were 341,500 people employed by nondepository mortgage lenders and brokers in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. That's up 3,800 workers from April, when there were 337,700 workers, according to downwardly revised figures. A year ago in May, there were 334,300 workers employed by nonbank in the mortgage industry.

Seasonal homebuying continues throughout the warmer months, and there are signs some nonbank mortgage companies are still staffing up and competing for sales talent in promising housing markets.

Churchill Mortgage, for example, recently hired 25 mortgage professionals in areas where it identified rising homeowner demand. These include: Brentwood, Tenn.; Herndon, Va.; Charlotte and Franklin, N.C.; Columbia, Md.; Renton, Wash.; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Tampa, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Oklahoma and Iowa.

But other nonbank mortgage lenders like Movement Mortgage recently have made cuts to operations due to volume declines, and mergers could affect hiring numbers in the future. Citizens Bank, for example, plans to close on its acquisition of nonbank Franklin American in the third quarter of this year.

The bureau's estimates for specific industries' employment lag its national data by a month. The United States added 213,000 jobs in June. That represents a smaller gain than May's upwardly revised addition of 244,000 workers, but it was a larger increase than the upwardly revised 175,000 employees added to payrolls in April.

National unemployment rose to 4% in June, up from 3.8% in May, primarily due to more unemployed people returning to the job market.

Other industries generating more jobs included residential construction, which added nearly 4,000 jobs month-over-month in June. This could help ease constraints on inventory that limit lending opportunities for mortgage companies.

"It indicates further increases in housing starts are likely and more housing supply may be on the way," First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming said in a statement.

However, any addition to housing supply from the construction job gains won't be as strong as it was in the previous month, according to Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan.

"For housing, the marked moderation in residential construction payroll gains to 4,400 from 12,600 in May disappointed, pointing to little relief in the supply shortage that has been the main impediment to the housing market," he said in a statement.

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