A raft of weak new reports Thursday provided the strongest evidence yet that the recovery is slowing and added to concerns that the nation could be on its way back into recession.
Most notable was a rise in the number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time. The four-week average for jobless claims now stands at its highest point since March.
The bleak indicators come just after Congress adjourned for the holiday weekend without extending jobless benefits, and a day ahead of a report expected to show only modest improvement in the national job market.
On top of that, the housing market appears to be slumping again, and the Dow Jones industrials closed down for the sixth trading day in a row. Add in slower growth in China and the Europe debt crisis, and economists are scaling back their forecasts for the U.S.