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The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits was unchanged last week, suggesting modest but steady gains in the job market.
The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid fell to a four-year low last week, bolstering the view that the job market is strengthening.
Fewer Americans bought new homes in December. The decline made 2011 the worst year for new-home sales on records dating back nearly half a century.
The U.S. economy grew more slowly over the summer than the government had earlier estimated because businesses cut back more sharply on restocking of shelves.
A summer of modest economic growth is helping dispel lingering fears that another recession might be near. Whether the strength can be sustained, though, is far from clear.
Builders broke ground on fewer homes in August, evidence that the housing market remains depressed.
Consumers spent more on autos, furniture, clothing and gas in July, pushing up retail sales by the largest amount in four months. The gain signaled that Americans are a little more confident in the economy and could helped dispel fears that the country is headed for another recession.
Fewer people bought previously occupied homes in June, putting this year on pace to be the worst for sales since the housing bust.
Builders broke ground on more single-family homes and apartments in June, helping the battered construction industry gain a little life after a dismal spring.