Financial, Mortgage Hirings Up as Overall Employment Dips
A look at updated figures from recent months indicates mortgage finance may have had a hand in adding jobs near the end of 2009. Despite high jobless rates heading into 2010, a key Federal Reserve official indicated the Fed does not intend to change policy measures. Late last week, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance weekly claims data that showed the week ending January 2 saw 1,000 more initial claims than the previous week. The DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday said the national unemployment rate was 10% in December, unchanged from November. Despite the overall loss, the financial-activities sector gained a net 4,000 jobs in December, the first gain since summer 2007, according to a search of the Bureau of Labor Statistics online database. Jobs increased from November (7,691,000) to 7,695,00 in December. Employers shed 85,000 jobs overall in December, much higher than anticipated - especially considering November's figures were readjusted to show the economy actually gained 4,000 jobs rather than lost 11,000 that month. The residential mortgage industry contributed about 5% of November's job gains, adding 200 full-time employees to payrolls and marking the first increase since July, according to a blog posting at Americas Money Center. The post indicates that figure is gleaned from BLS statistics regarding employment in the banker/broker sector. Employment in this segment rose to 255,700 in November, from 255,500 in October. "The BLS data shows the increase is entirely due to more mortgage brokers having jobs," the blog post reads. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank president James Bullard on Monday addressed December's job loss. "It was different from expectations but not far enough to really change assessments of policy," he told the media following a speech at the Global Independence Center. "I do think we'll see positive job growth in the first part of 2010." Write to Diana Golobay.