High Unemployment Rate Keeping Housing Recovery in Check

With the news that first-time jobless claims fell more than expected last week, economists were once again trying to determine whether this will lead to growth in the economy -- and the housing market -- in coming months.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits declined by 11,000, to 457,000 for the week ending July 24. While that sounds like good news, it is just one number in the larger jobs picture.

The department also reported that the number of workers who continue to claim unemployment benefits increased by 81,000. And the 9.5 percent national unemployment rate will not budge.

A better job market is key to an improved housing market, say many experts, who are looking for good news wherever they can find it. The question is, did they find it in the most current numbers?