GOOD NEWS IN TOUGH TIMES

In tough times, you’ve got to trumpet good news when you have it.  So I’m passing along some numbers for Little Boy Blue to blow his horn about.  Positive data leads to positive trends which leads to confidence and growth which is what is sorely needed in Michigan’s economy right now.

Foreclosure filings in Southeast Michigan were down in the first half of 2009 compared to the last half of 2008, according to Realtytrac.com.  One in every 54 homes is still in the process of foreclosure in Southeast Michigan, but that is down 8 percent compared to the July-December 2008 period.  Similar positive results were recorded for the Flint, Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor areas also, though some Michigan areas, including Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Holland, saw a slight increase.  By comparison, Las Vegas has one in thirteen homes in foreclosure, the highest in the nation.

Other bits of good news include a recent report that showed that retailers in Michigan saw an increase in sales in June, and as a whole had the best month since July 2008.  A full one third of retailers, particularly those in the apparel sector, saw an increase over last year.  Lastly, as we move people from old economy jobs and skill sets to those better suited for the future, the Governor announced that 82,000 Michiganians have received retraining through the No Worker Left Behind program.  She said the goal for 2009 is to retrain 100,000 and said that she expects that the goal will be exceeded.

Good news as this is, it is still small comfort for the all too many families who are going through this agonizing experience, for those who have been unemployed for far too long, or for the businesses that have been forced to close down.  We know the stories and they’re all too real to us.  That said, we’ll take any amount of sunshine and do our best to turn it into a sunny day.  Let’s hope these figures are signaling a rally in the not-too-distant future.

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