Foreclosures hit an all-time high in the United States in the last three months of 2007.

A report Thursday from a business group says the number of U.S. homeowners who defaulted on their loans rose to just a bit over eight-tenths of one percent. 

Banks try to sell foreclosed homes to recover the money owed, but this flood of homes on the market is one reason for declining home prices.

Those prices have not yet fallen low enough to boost sales.  A separate report says a key indicator of future sales remains stuck at a near-record low level for a second month in a row.

Another government report said the number of Americans signing up for unemployment assistance declined last week, but not enough to change the long-term trend of a slowing job market.

We will learn more about the U.S. job market on Friday when the government publishes the monthly unemployment rate.  Economists interviewed by the Bloomberg financial news service predict the jobless rate will increase slightly to five percent.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.