It looks like the current economic turmoil has undermined another hopeful trend. This time it's home remodeling. The housing market at best is sunk deep in depression-era doldrums. Nevertheless, homeowners had been spending money on improvements.
Well, it looks likes homeowners are deciding that they can live with an aging kitchen and unfinished basement a little longer. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) projects that annual remodeling spending through the first quarter of 2012 will be down 4.0%. The lines on this chart from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University are going in the wrong direction--down.