Foreclosure Woes Drive Mortgage Industry Unemployment Higher

Foreclosure Woes Drive Mortgage Industry Unemployment Higher-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

More than a half million people worked in mortgage lending as of October 2005 — the highest month on record. Five years later, fewer than half are left. Headcount in real estate finance fell by another thousand based on the Third-Quarter 2010 Mortgage Employment Index from, a leading online news publication for the mortgage industry.

During the third quarter, 3,216 layoffs were tracked, worse than the second quarter’s 2,028, according to the report, which reflects data tracked by Mortgage Daily and is an indicator of overall mortgage employment activity.

Hirings also deteriorated, falling to 2,286 from the prior period’s 2,768.

The net effect was that there were 930 fewer people working in the mortgage sector than in the second quarter. Third-quarter activity also worsened from a year earlier.

Quarter Layoffs Hirings Net
Q3 2010 3,216 2,286 -930
Q2 2010 2,028 2,768 +740
Q3 2009 5,401 4,691 -710

In October 2005, near the end of the bull real estate market that eventually collapsed and sparked the Great Recession, mortgage employment peaked at 535,400 based on government data. In September 2010, industry-wide headcount had fallen to 246,400.

In 2007 alone, the Mortgage Employment Index fell by 87,131.

The decision to close Wells Fargo Financial Inc. had a huge impact on third-quarter activity. Without the loss of those jobs, the Mortgage Employment Index would have had a gain.

More than a hundred layoffs were reported for First Mortgage Corp. and Wealthbridge Mortgage.

Net gains of more than 200 occurred at JPMorgan Chase & Co., MetLife Bank and Neighborhood Assistance Corp.

Maryland, Illinois and Oregon had the biggest net losses in the third quarter, while more layoffs occurred in California than any other state.

North Carolina saw a net gain of more than 500 jobs — better than any of its 49 counterparts. Hundreds of hirings also happened in California and Texas.

The complete Mortgage Employment Index report — including full tables by state, year and company — is available at: ¬†

Mortgage employment news, including articles about the Mortgage Employment Index, is available at:


Founded in 1998, provides online mortgage news and analysis for the mortgage industry. Around 1 million news pages are viewed monthly at

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Filed under: Real Estate