Jobs and housing may be the two biggest clouds hanging over the U.S. economy right now.
They've been moving in opposite directions for the past several months, and a couple reports out today show that the trends are continuing: The job market is getting better, and the housing market is getting worse.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance — claims people typically file shortly after they lose their job — fell last week. The number (382,000) is still high by historic standards. But it's far lower than the numbers we were seeing during the heart of the recession. And it's moving in the right direction. Meanwhile, several key industries have been adding jobs every month, and the unemployment rate, though still high, has been falling steadily.
National home prices hit new post-bubble lows in February, according to a report out today from CoreLogic. There is a glut of homes on the market, driven largely by short sales and foreclosures. Experts predict there could be more than a million foreclosures this year. Home prices may keep falling for months.