Given the lackluster pace of hiring as reflected in the “jobs hard to get” response, it’s not surprising that the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) remains relatively depressed this far into an economic recovery. The index did edge up to 59.5 in July, well below its previous cyclical high of 111.9 during July 2007. At 35.7, the CCI Present Situation component is considerably below its March 2007 peak of 138.5.
Also depressing consumer confidence must be the continued weakness in home prices. There was a small m/m uptick in the S&P/Case-Shiller 20 Metros Home Price Index during May. However, the 12-month average of the median existing home price compiled by the National Association of Realtors remained around a cyclical low of $170,000 during the three months through June. Prices haven’t been this low since the spring of 2003, and are down a whopping 24.3% from the record high of $224,283 during July 2006.