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THE ECONOMY | NATION/WORLD

Home Resales Surge; Jobless Claims Dip

March 28, 1997|Reuters

The nation's economy showed more signs of robust growth as a new batch of data revealed soaring homes sales, fewer Americans entering unemployment lines and buoyant help-wanted advertising. The reports add more evidence of a steadily expanding economy and fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve Board will raise interest rates further to head off inflation. The National Assn. of Realtors said sales of existing homes rose 9% in February to a seasonably adjusted annual rate of 4.26 million units from a revised 3.91 million in January. The February rate was up 5.2% from sales of 4.05 million in February 1996. Mortgage rates for a 30-year loan averaged 7.65% in February, down from 7.82% in January but up from 7.08% in February a year ago. In another report, the Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell to 310,000 in the week ended Saturday, compared with a revised 314,000 the week earlier. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 311,250 from a revised 312,750. And the Conference Board reported that its national help-wanted advertising index rose to 90 in February from 87 in January.

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