A real estate industry group says the U.S. housing market appears headed for a recovery.
National Association of Realtors (NAR) said Thursday sales of
previously owned homes jumped faster than expected in June, rising 3.6
The group says it is the third month in a row that
sales have increased, with the rate of homes sales now at its highest
level since October.
Many economists say the collapse of the
U.S. housing market helped trigger the financial crisis. But the
latest U.S. government report on unemployment is doing little to ease
The U.S. Labor Department says the number of Americans
filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week rose by
30,000 to 554,000. At the same time, the total number of workers
continuing to file jobless claims fell to about 6.2 million, the lowest
it has been since April.
Officials caution the numbers are
likely distorted for the second week in a row because of the recent
layoffs at two of the three top U.S. auto companies.
in the United States have cut 6.5 million jobs since the recession
began in December of 2007 and the country's unemployment rate recently
hit a 26-year-high of 9.5 percent.
White House Budget Director
Peter Orszag said Wednesday officials expect the unemployment rate "to
remain stubbornly high" even when the economy improves. And Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers Wednesday the country's
rising unemployment rate remains the biggest threat to the economy.
head of the U.S. central bank also warned that American consumers will
likely be changing their shopping habits - buying fewer products,
including those imported from other countries - and cannot be expected
to pay for a global economic recovery.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.