This is a little thing. But it’s one of those little things economists watch closely.

What does Lowe’s numbers tell us? Housing markets are stabilizing. What does it not tell us? The possible impact of high unemployment and a new wave of foreclosures on the future housing market.

There are no local figures for how Lowe’s or Home Depot are doing in the Boston area. The assumption is that they’re doing much better here.

Anyone talk to their local hardware dealer lately? How are they doing?