Worse-than-expected news on unemployment and home sales Thursday dampened optimism that a broad economic recovery might be near.
Many analysts don’t expect the housing slide to show signs of stabilizing until the second half of this year.
They said layoffs may be at their high point, but the jobless rate, already at a 25-year high, will keep rising until the middle of 2010.
The U.S. Labour Department reported Thursday that initial claims for unemployment compensation rose to 640,000 last week, up from a revised 613,000 the previous week.
Meanwhile, sales of existing homes fell three per cent in March to 4.57 million units, with February revised down to 4.71 million units.