The collective payrolls of non-bank mortgage lenders and brokers rose nearly 2% month-over-month and rose 9% year-over-year in the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The industry employed an estimated 323,300 people in July, according to preliminary figures. The BLS also revised its estimates for mortgage jobs by 100 in June to 318,100. A year ago in July, the number of employees in industry was 296,200.
While employment tends to decline as home purchases slow down in the fall, some non-banks have ambitious hiring plans in the works that see them hiring thousands of workers by the end of the year.
Examples include a plan Mr. Cooper announced this week to have 2,000 workers on board. In July, Freedom Mortgage announced an interest in hiring an additional 3,000 employees and AmeriSave Mortgage Corp. announced plans to hire 2,000 employees.
Overall, US jobs – which are reported less delayed than the mortgage industry estimates – rose 1.4 million in August as the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%. Adjusted for a misclassification error that the BLS has been struggling with since March, the unemployment rate was 9.1%.
By comparison, total employment increased by 1.8 million in July when the unemployment rate was 10.2% or 11.2% on an adjusted basis.
Before the coronavirus outbreak in the US, the unemployment rate was closer to 4%. Unemployment rates were last so high during the Great Recession when they rose to 10%.
Housing construction has been isolated from the wider economic impact of the pandemic by low rates and the fact that the hardest-hit types of industries are employing renters rather than homeowners.
According to Odeta Kushi, assistant chief economist at First American Financial Corp., persistent higher unemployment in the broader market could dampen residential demand and consumers' ability to qualify for credit.
"Housing has remained immune due to demographic demand and low Fed policies, but cannot remain immune to the effects of homeowners with lower household incomes," Kushi said in an email.