The report disappointed economists, who had forecast a decline in unemployment applications. Even so, most analysts think employers will add about 175,000 jobs this month. That would be more than in March but less than the robust job growth achieved during the winter.
Last week, applications for unemployment aid dipped to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was little changed from the previous week's figure, the highest since Jan. 7.
US rate on 30-year mortgage dips to 3.88 percentWASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has dipped to near its record low, keeping home-buying and refinancing affordable. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the interest rate on 30-year loans dropped to 3.88 percent this week, down from 3.9 percent. In February, the rate hit 3.87 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. The 30-year loan is the most common financing option for home buyers. ___ Contracts for US homes rose last month WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ An index that tracks the number of signed contracts to buy U.S. homes rose to its highest level in nearly two years last month, the latest sign the battered housing market is slowly improving. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its index of sales agreements increased 4.1 percent last month to a reading of 101.4. That's the highest since April 2010, when buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit. A reading of 100 is considered healthy. Contract signings typically indicate where the housing market is headed. There's a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed deal. ___ By The Associated Press(equals) The Dow Jones industrial average rose 113.90 points to 13,204.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 climbed 9.29 points to 1,399.98. The Nasdaq composite index rose 20.98 points to 3,050.61.
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