Mortgage companies cut 1,500 full-time workers from their payrolls in March after adding 4,400 full-time employees the previous month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that employment in the mortgage banker and broker sector fell to 252,500 full-time positions in March from 254,000 in February.

Mortgage industry employment was down 6.7% from March of last year, compared with a 21.6% drop in the previous 12-month period.

Slower loan production in the first quarter could explain some of the layoffs in March. (See related story.)

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