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Archive for Friday, September 26, 2008

New home sales, factory orders fall

September 26, 2008

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— Weekly jobless claims surged to the highest level in seven years, durable goods orders took a bigger-than-expected tumble and new home sales plunged to the slowest pace in 17 years, according to government data released Thursday.

The latest trifecta of bad news about the economy raised new worries about a possible recession and underscored the concerns that are driving Congress and the White House to reach agreement on an historic bailout of the financial system.

The Labor Department reported that jobless claims jumped by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 493,000 last week, the highest level since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and far above what economists had been expecting.

Labor Department analysts said Hurricanes Ike and Gustav added about 50,000 claims, but even discounting the adverse impact from job disruptions in Louisiana and Texas, the four-week average for claims rose to 445,000, the highest it has been since November 2001, the month the last recession ended.

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