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Loan-related layoffs hit highs

September 22, 2007|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — In the fallout from the decline of the U.S. housing market, a record 5,126 employees in the real estate credit industry and a record 1,864 mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers were laid off in August, a Labor Department report showed Friday.

Those were the most people filing claims for unemployment benefits from the two industries since the department began tracking mass layoffs in 1995. A mass layoff is defined as 50 or more people let go from one company.

Although the Labor Department seasonally adjusts the country's total number of mass layoffs, which dropped in August to 118,120 people from 124,835 in July, it does not adjust the industry breakdowns.

"Real estate credit and mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers from the credit intermediation industry had the third- and seventh-highest number of mass layoff initial claims, respectively, in August," the department said.

The department said the last time the number of layoffs in real estate credit came close to August's high was in April, when the total reached 1,884. There was only one other month when the layoffs in that sector totaled more than 1,000, he said, which was June, when they were 1,035.

Monthly layoffs of loan brokers are rarely more than 200, and the highest number before August was 359, also in April.

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