A flurry of reports Thursday show the U.S. job market getting slightly better, business investment slowing down, and home sales growing at a slower pace.
The mixed picture shows the number of Americans signing up for unemployment compensation fell by 23,000 last week to a total of 369,000 nationwide.
An industry report shows the number of families that signed contracts to buy homes has grown strongly over the past year, but only made slight gains in September.
A separate report showed companies slowing down their investment in new equipment, which experts say might be a sign that this sector could slow down.
We will get more information Friday, when government experts publish new data on the nation's economic growth. Economists surveyed by the Bloomberg financial news service predict the report will show the gross domestic product expanded at a 1.8 percent annual rate in July, August and September. That is a very modest growth rate, but it is a bit faster than a previous report.