The number of people working in mortgage lending has fallen on a quarterly basis, though there was a recent monthly upturn.

Bottom line? Smaller firms and northern markets are where the jobs are moving.

As of March 31, an estimated 544,700 people were employed in the mortgage industry. The estimate was based on government and origination market share data analyzed by Mortgage Daily.

The total included an estimated 210,800 mortgage jobs at banks, an estimated 49,400 mortgage positions at credit unions and 284,500 employees at non-bank mortgage firms.

Total headcount in real estate finance declined from an estimated 577,800 people who were employed in the business as of the fourth-quarter 2014.

Staffing in home lending was also reduced from the first-quarter 2014, when mortgage employment was estimated at 597,000.

In Mortgage Daily's First Quarter 2015 Mortgage Employment Index, there was little change in the number of jobs, with hirings slightly out pacing layoffs by a mere 36 positions.

But there was some residential loan staffing action between states, with Florida seeing in excess of 500 more mortgage layoffs than hirings.

(Source: Mortgage Daily)

(Source: Mortgage Daily)

Additionally, Mortgage Daily broke job losses and job gains down by company, with Walter Investment (WAC) topping the list for the most jobs lost in the first quarter.

(Source: Mortgage Daily)

On the other hand, Freedom Mortgage added the most jobs in the first quarter.

(Source: Mortgage Daily)