Figures from the US Department of Labor are out on unemployment, and they could be worse. 

In a story on the BBC, Nigel Gault, chief US economist at IHS Global Insight, said that the rise in the jobless rate was not too discouraging.

"The decline last month was too good to be true, really. It's too early for the unemployment rate to be coming down, of course we're still losing jobs," he said.

"What I would take encouragement from is the fact is the trend in the rate of decline in jobs is still improving, that private sector jobs were down 198,000, that's 50,000 better than the previous month and it's almost 200,000 better than the month before that."

The construction industry took the biggest it, losing 65,000 jobs.  Construction and housing sales seem to be linked as new homes can't be built while workers still are getting laid off.

Here in the Tampa Bay area, in Pinellas County, Florida, home sales have not recovered.  The number of homes sold year to date is down about 23% and the average price per home is off almost 8% from last year.  The good news is that the number of homes sold in July 2009 vs July 2008 is up.  The counterbalance to the good news is the sales price for the same period is down by about $10,000.  The numbers below reflect year to date home sales in Pinellas County, FL.  And the silver lining in this dark cloud is that there are lots of bargains for home buyers in the Tampa Bay area.

2009 YTD 5,865 $155,000 
2008 7,622 $167,000