Employment in the mortgage banking and brokerage sector fell to 291,900 in August from 295,700 in July on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.
Executives seemed reluctant to cut back despite rising mortgage rates and declining refinances earlier in the summer, but that changed in August.
Mortgage banking companies laid off 1,600 employees while mortgage brokerages laid off 2,200 employees, according to the BLS report. (The government shutdown delayed the report, which was originally scheduled for release on Oct. 4.)
Overall, employment in the mortgage banking/broker sector is up 4.4% from August 2012, Tuesdays jobs report shows.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy created 148,000 jobs in September, compared to an upwardly revised 193,000 in August. The U.S. generated 169,000 additional jobs in August, according to the BLS.
Hiring in the construction trades picked up, however. Employment in construction rose by 20,000 in September after showing little change over the prior six months, BLS says.
In the residential sector, multifamily and single-family builders and contractors hired 4,300 new construction workers in September, up from 3,500 in August.
The unemployment rate edged down to 7.2% in September from 7.3% in August despite the disappointing jobs report.
(There is a one-month lag in the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting of mortgage employment data.)