Just the other day, I was discussing the economy with some co-workers.  They feel the economy is "coming back."  I, on the other hand, think it mostly stinks.  And I'm employed, so I can imagine how unemployed people feel.  Then again, I'm generally a glass-half-empty kind of guy; I don't think "optimist" is a word most would use to describe me.

So, I have to admit I was surprised when I read the news that Ottawa County was on the top of a list of job growth in the U.S.   The survey was done by the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics and they found Ottawa County had a 4.7% increase in employment from June of 2010 through July 2011.

The biggest increase was in the manufacturing sector. If my memory serves, I've heard about hiring at Gentex and LG since I came to West Michigan in mid-August.  Obviously there are many more companies hiring in Ottawa County.  And that's encouraging news, indeed.

But please forgive me if I don't get very fired up about "the economy coming back" until the unemployment rate drops to 5%, home values begin to stablize and people can afford to put groceries on their table and gas in their tanks without worrying how they'll pay the mortgage or rent.