HousingWire says according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the mortgage industry lost 257,000 jobs between Feb. 2006 and Feb. 2011, a 51 percent decline. Feb. 2010 to Feb. 2011, the decline in mortgage employment was 5.9 percent. The first two months of this year saw the loss of nearly 12,000 positions. Numbers of real estate employees, appraisers, and lenders have also declined. The numbers are supported by Wells Fargo, Inc., which said after mortgage applications fell by nearly 20 percent between the third and fourth quarters of 2010, the lending giant laid off 1,900 mortgage workers. However, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) continues to remain cautiously optimistic.