Could a sluggish job market threaten a modest recovery in housing?  Americans bought fewer homes in May than in April.  According to The National Association of Realtors, sales of previously occupied homes dropped 1.5 percent in May from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million.

There's evidence home sales are slowly improving based on the fact that sales have risen 9.6 percent from a year ago. But, the pace has fallen since nearly touching a two-year high in April and it remains well below the six million that economists consider healthy.

The decline follows a report that employers added the fewest jobs in a year in May.  Weaker hiring has slowed the broader economy and could lead some to reconsider buying a home despite low mortgage rates.

First-time buyers, who are critical to a recovery, made up just 34 percent of sales in May.  That's down slightly from 35 percent in April.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report. )