So far today we’ve learned that:
1) The decline in housing prices slowed in June, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller data.
2) Average income in 2006, as reported by the IRS, finally topped the 2000 level (in 2001-2005 it hadn’t).
3) The number of Americans without health insurance declined in 2007, the first such drop since 2000.
4) The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose for the second month in a row.
Hooray, hooray! Right?
Well, house prices are still falling, and fast. Income growth in the 2000s has been excruciatingly slow (median household income, as reported by the Census Bureau, was still below its 1999 and 2000 levels in 2007). There are 45.7 million uninsured Americans. And the Consumer Confidence Index, while rising, is still only about half what it was a year ago.
As economic news goes, all the developments reported today would have to be described as positive. But the big picture hasn’t changed much.