Mortgage Hiring Continues to Rebound for Third Straight Month

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Lenders increased hiring for the third consecutive month in July, just one year after the fizzling refinance boom sent mortgage industry employment plummeting from a five-year high.

Nonbank mortgage companies hired 3,400 full-time employees in July, up from 2,900 in prior month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. June’s figures were upwardly revised by 700 workers.

Overall, employment in the nonbank mortgage banking/broker sector rose to 286,300 in July from 282,900 in June. Back in July 2013, the industry employed 307,200 people, the most since 2008, when the sector employed an average of 308,300 people.

Mortgage industry employment peaked in 2006, with an average of 496,300 working in the industry. The latest gains reflect rising originations due to seasonal factors and a strengthening economy.

Recent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reports show a solid increase in originations since March. Fannie purchased $39.9 billion in single-family and multifamily loans in July, up from $26.5 billion in March. (Most of the increase involves single-family loans.) Freddie reported a similar increase, as loan purchases rose from $15.1 billion in March to $25.4 in July.

In addition, mortgage originations by federally-insured banks and thrifts jumped 42% in the second quarter of 2014 compared to the prior quarter, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy created 142,000 jobs in August, down from 212,000 new jobs in July. The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1% in August from 6.2% in July. Industry-specific figures have a one-month lag behind the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ overall data.

“Construction employment continued its upward trend in August,” BLS Commissioner Erica Groshen said in a statement Friday. Commercial and residential builders hired 20,000 construction workers in August, compared to 22,000 in the prior month.

Multifamily and single-family builders were responsible for hiring 13,200 of the new 20,000 construction workers.

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