Be Grateful You're Not in the Mortgage Industry

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mortgage industry If you think the business you work in has been hard hit and difficult to predict, just be glad you're not in the mortgage industry. While most sectors seemed to be recovering in 2010, there was a drop in hirings from 2009 in the mortgage industry. In fact, mortgage jobs went from a net gain in 2009 to a net loss last year, according to the Fourth-Quarter 2010 Mortgage Employment Index from MortgageDaily.com.

At least last year's losses were nowhere near those of 2007 -- when layoffs outpaced hirings by nearly 90,000 jobs. In 2010, layoffs in real estate finance outnumbered hirings by 3,100 jobs. In 2009, hirings exceeded layoffs by more than 8,000.

The deterioration between 2009 and 2010 was the result of a steep drop-off 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 all those delinquent borrowers. Most of last year's losses occurred as a result of fewer refinances. With still-falling real estate prices, it became tough for many to refinance.

As many things are, economically speaking, real estate finance jobs were worst in California, which lost more than a thousand jobs in this field. But Texas had a net gain of more than 600 real estate finance jobs -- better than any other state.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. had the biggest gain of any lender, while Wells Fargo & Co. began a furious campaign to reduce its production staff. However, many of the impacted employees who left the stagecoach were interim workers temporarily hired to handle increased refinance volume.

Still, layoffs continue into 2011, with Wells Fargo having already disclosed nearly 2,500 first-quarter 2011 mortgage layoffs. In addition, three major lenders have closed reverse mortgage businesses. Suffice it to say that the mortgage industry is not the best one to go into right now. If you've been in it for years and are still hanging on, however, congratulations -- it might be a good time to start investigating back-up businesses, just in case.


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