The Commerce Department announced disappointing new home sales for the month of July, worrying officials that an important source of jobs is still showing signs of weakness.
The decline in sales of new homes was 2.4 percent during the month from June to July, down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 412,000. In a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, prominent economists had predicted a yearly figure of 425,000.
New home sales have consistently refused to get out of the starting gate, staying stuck in the 2013 figures which totaled 429,000 new homes sold. In contrast the numbers for already existing homes have continued to climb, with four months in a row of better sales through July.
The reason economists focus on the strength of new home sales, despite this sector only representing 10 percent of US home buying, is because building homes usually provides high-paying, middle-class jobs.