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ECONOMIC OUTLOOK ADVISORY!Home sales fall, jobless claims rise

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By The Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — The economic recovery is weakening in the face of falling home sales and rising claims for unemployment benefits, new data showed Thursday.

Sales of previously occupied homes fell 5.1 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.37 million, the National Association of Realtors said.

Meanwhile, new claims for unemployment insurance jumped by 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 464,000, the Labor Department said. Seasonal factors boosted new requests for benefits. Still, first-time claims remain elevated, pointing to a sluggish job market.

Separately, the Conference board, a private research group, said its gauge of future economic activity dropped in June. It was the second decline in three months. The leading indicators gauge had risen almost every month since April 2009 as the economy rebounded from recession. But weakness in the housing sector, faltering consumer spending and high unemployment have raised fears about a big slowdown in growth.

The housing industry has struggled the past two months since government incentives ended in April, even though home prices are low and mortgage rates have reached the lowest levels in decades. High unemployment, tight credit and a rise in foreclosures have kept many people from buying.


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