Mortgage sector jobs went from a net gain in 2009 to a net loss last year, according to the Fourth-Quarter 2010 Mortgage Employment Index from, a leading online news publication for the mortgage industry. A huge drop in hirings was responsible for the overall deterioration.

The index, which reflects activity reported by Mortgage Daily, indicated that layoffs in real estate finance outnumbered hirings by 3,100 jobs during 2010.

But last year’s losses were nowhere near 2007 — when layoffs outpaced hirings by nearly 90,000 jobs.

In 2009, hirings exceeded layoffs by more than 8,000.

The deterioration between 2009 and 2010 was the result of a steep dropoff in recruiting — to just a little over 10,000 hires last year from more than 30,000 a year earlier. Many of the jobs created in 2009 were added to help a growing number of delinquent borrowers.

Year Layoffs Hirings Net
2010 13,400 10,300 -3,100
2009 22,578 30,899 +8,321

Most of last year’s losses occurred in the final quarter as a result of falling refinances.

Quarter Layoffs Hirings Net
Q4 2010 6,613 2,989 -3,624
Q3 2010 3,216 2,286 -930
Q4 2009 2,995 5,849 +2,854

The net loss in California exceeded a thousand — more than any other state. But Texas had a net gain of more than 600 — better than any other state.

State Net Gain/Loss
CA -1,027
IA -350
FL -195
TX +630
OH +417
TN +110

JPMorgan Chase & Co. had the biggest gain of any lender.

Wells Fargo & Co., meanwhile, began a furious campaign to reduce its production staff. But many of the impacted employees were interim workers temporarily hired to handle increased refinance volume.

Company Net Gain/Loss
Wells Fargo -4,091
Ocwen -1,147
David Stern -560
JPMorgan +759
MetLife +582
PNC +392

Layoffs continue, with Wells Fargo having already disclosed nearly 2,500 first-quarter 2011 mortgage layoffs. In addition, three major lenders have closed reverse mortgage businesses.

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

Mortgage employment news is available online at:


Founded in 1998, is a leading online news publication for the mortgage industry providing mortgage news and analysis.

Holly Himelright

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