Slowdown Seen In Latest Economic Numbers

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The latest numbers suggest a slowdown, both in hiring and in home sales.

The average number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits over the past month is at a three-month high, though it's still 9 percent lower than the level from September. Applications for benefits have started to tick up in recent weeks after months of steady declines.

And the National Association of Realtors says sales of previously-owned homes fell 2.6 percent last month. A mild winter may have encouraged more people to buy in January and February, taking some sales away from March. And many economists believe the warmer winter may also be affecting the jobs numbers, by bringing some earlier hiring in January and February.

One private analyst, Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisers, says he expects "a few more quarters of moderate growth before stronger gains might appear" in the economy.

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