Written By: Joel Palmer, Op-Ed Writer
The job market for professionals in the mortgage industry is expected to grow modestly in both the short-term and long-term.
Industry job demand typically increases with economic growth and the strength of the housing market, both of which have recovered from the 2008 economic crisis. As the economy continues to recover, mortgage loans are expected to increase, despite anticipated increases in mortgage interest rates.
According to a National Association of Realtors survey, U.S. home sales have increased in each of the last three consecutive months. And demand remains strong: 67 percent of respondents expressed a desire to own a home in 2016 in its latest survey, up from 53 percent just two years ago. In addition, first-time homebuyers are accounting for the highest share of the market in four years.
Projections for mortgage job growth are based primarily on projection for all lending activity, as the U.S. Department of Labor does not break out statistics for different types of loan processors and underwriters. It does predict that employment for all loan officers will grow 8 percent between now and 2024, roughly the average for all employment growth.
Projections Central, which creates projections of occupational employment growth for all states and the nation based on Bureau of Labor Statistics and each state’s employment agencies, projects 8.6 percent growth in jobs for loan interviewers and clerks between 2014 and 2014, with about 5,130 openings nationwide per year. Job growth for loan officers is anticipated to be 8.1 percent through 2024, with annual openings of 7,500.
Short-term job growth for loan interviewers and clerks is anticipated to be highest in the states of:
- Utah (8.4 percent growth for interviewers and clerks and 7.9 percent for officers)
- Arizona (6.8 percent and 6.4 percent)
- Oregon (6.1 percent and 5.3 percent)
- Idaho (4.8 percent and 5.1 percent)
- Nebraska (4.5 percent for both)
In a few states, employment in lending is expected to contract in the short term, including:
- Colorado (-4.1 percent for interviewers and clerks and -5 percent for officers)
- Maryland (-3 percent and -3.8 percent)
- New Mexico (-2 percent and -2.1 percent)
- Vermont (-1 percent and -0.5 percent)
- Connecticut (-2.8 percent and -2.6 percent)
According to BLS, the states with the most loan officers employed as of May 2015 are California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New York. These are the most populous states in the country, so it makes sense they employ the highest number of loan officers.
The metropolitan areas employing the most loan officers include Chicago, Phoenix, New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta,
The BLS measures states and metro areas with the highest concentration of people employed in certain jobs using a location quotient. This is a ratio that compares employment in a specific geographic area with the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates there are more people employed in that field than the national average, while a quotient under one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area.
The states with the highest concentration of people employed in lending are: Arizona (location quotient of 1.84), South Dakota (1.67), Iowa (1.62), Nebraska (1.60) and Idaho (1.57).
Regions with the highest concentration of people employed in lending are Northwest Kansas (2.62), Eastern and Southern Colorado (2.23), Central Nebraska (2.18), Northwest Nebraska (2.05), and Southwest Oklahoma (1.89).
Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of people employed in lending, as of May 2015, are:
- Pocatello, Idaho (location quotient of 3.03)
- Des Moines, Iowa (2.99)
- Thousand Oaks, California (2.94)
- Jacksonville, Florida (2.72)
- Lincoln, Nebraska (2.41)
- Columbia, Missouri (2.41)
- Phoenix, Arizona (2.14)
- Springfield, Ohio (1.96)
- Charlotte, North Carolina (1.96)
- Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (1.94)
As to which companies are expected to do the most hiring for mortgage professionals, the career website Zippia.com reported that the highest demand for mortgage loan processors is at JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and USAA. Wells Fargo has hired the highest number of mortgage underwriters in recent years
About the Author
As an NAMU® Opinion Editorial Contributor, Joel Palmer is a freelance writer who spent 10 years as a business and financial reporter and another 10 years in marketing for the insurance and financial services industries. He regularly writes about the mortgage industry, as well as residential and commercial real estate, investments, and retirement income planning. He has also ghostwritten books on starting a business, marketing, and retirement income planning.