Claims for unemployment benefits are on a roller coaster ride. Claims fell dramatically last week after rising sharply a week earlier. About 346,000 people filed claims for their first week of jobless benefits last week.
That's down from a revised 388,000 the week before, according to the labor department. Wide swings are not unusual for March and April because of the Easter holiday and school spring breaks.
The report also showed 3.1 million people filed for their second week or more of unemployment benefits last week.
On the housing front, there is some good news. The number of homes lost to foreclosure is closing in on levels not seen since before the housing meltdown.
Foreclosure filings including notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions during the first quarter fell 23% from a year earlier.
It's the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007. Last month, banks repossessed about 44,000 homes. That's within striking distance of the pre-housing bust monthly average.
At the height of the housing meltdown, in September 2010, repossessions topped 100,000 a month.
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