Housing still lags rest of the economy

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Flatbedders who lean on housing products still can’t get much in the way of good news.

The Census Bureau reported this week that new housing starts declined in December by 4.3 percent, notes the weekly economic recap from the American Trucking Associations. 2010 was the second worst year on record for housing starts, bested only by 2009, when the credit and housing collapse was at its worst.

“Housing prices have stabilized by most measures, but are not really growing, either, in

many markets and still falling in some places,” writes ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Plus, the states hit the worst, such as California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida, have even further to go before making a sustained recovery. However, we do believe that housing will continue to recover in 2011, but it will be slow going.”

For the rest of the economy, prospects look bright. The Conference Board reported that its December Index of Leading Economic Indicators hit its highest level on record, Costello notes. The index grew every month from July through December of last year.