The housing industry lost 5,700 jobs in September, marking its fourth consecutive month of employment shrinkage, preliminary figures from the Department of Labor show. Residential building employment rose by 1,800, but was offset by 7,500 job losses in the real estate industry, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Labor Department. Given the housing crash and the market's current anemic performance, it's hard to expect industry employment to do anything but move sideways for a while, said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist with Capital Economics, a Toronto-based research consultancy. The numbers bear out his point, as housing industry employment started to flatten out last year and has remained fairly steady since then. "If you go back and look at how many people were employed in those sectors two years or even four years ago, there would have been a hell of a lot more people employed," Dales said. "Any industry that’s been exposed to the housing market has really seen a lot of job losses over the last few years." The ranks of mortgage brokers are also continuing to thin out. Employment among mortgage and non-mortgage loan brokers declined by 1,500 in September, although that data was not adjusted for seasonal variations, which are substantial in the housing industry. The trend, though, is clear. The mortgage loan brokerage industry has lost more than 100,000 jobs since employment peaked at 148,200 in April 2006, Labor Department data shows. Employment in September was 47,400, according to the Department's preliminary estimate. "These industries have suffered a lot and they’ll probably continue to suffer," said Dales. Write to Liz Enochs.