Home prices and consumer confidence in the U.S. climbed further from the depths of the recession, indicating the economy is taking more steps toward recovery. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index increased 0.2 percent in November, the sixth consecutive gain, the group said today in New York. The Conference Board’s confidence gauge rose this month to the highest level in more than a year. Home values since May have regained about a 10th of the record 32 percent plunge over the past three years, showing the industry that precipitated the worst economic slump since the 1930s has much ground to make up. A 10 percent jobless rate means Americans will be slow to regain the comfort needed to restore spending to levels seen during the last expansion. “We are starting to come back, but it’s going to be slow,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut. “The labor situation is the linchpin for practically everything.”
By Bob Willis and Courtney Schlisserman, Jan. 26, 2010 Bloomberg

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