New index assesses the state of our economic recovery

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The latest numbers from the monthly Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) shows that we’ve made great gains in public perception about the state of our economy, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

First, let’s set some perspective on what the latest stats mean. A score of 90 or above on the 100-point CCI scale would indicate that we’re seeing a healthy economy. Right now, we’re sitting at a 70. That’s the highest score we’ve had in about 3 years. By comparison, at the height of the economic meltdown, the score dropped to an abysmal 25.

It seems to make perfect sense to me that we sit at 70 right now. Things are better than they were, but they’re not great. Unemployment is still high, even though it has come down some. There are more jobs out there, but still not enough. So we are still struggling.

As I look into 2011, there are lots of reasons to be optimistic. Sure, there’s the continuing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, but that’s an X factor. The world always has its X factors. You could wake up and psych yourself out every single day with problems and potential problems around the world if you really wanted to.

But I believe the momentum is here and recovery is underway. The ambivalence of a score of 70 is perfectly valid because this is not an intense recovery when it comes to jobs. The most optimistic scenarios show high unemployment for years to come. Not obnoxious, mind you, but still higher than we’d like to see.

Yet where we are right now vs. where we were a few years ago, well, things are a whole lot better!



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