Positive news on economy

Published 7:17 pm Saturday, May 16, 2009

Did we hear that correctly?

Did Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke actually say something positive this week about the economy?

Something about it starting to grow again in 2009, after 18 months of a deep recession?

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Something about stronger home sales, increased consumer spending and improved lending conditions.

No reason to clean out our ears. Bernanke did say that Tuesday during a meeting of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. He tempered his optimism by saying that the recovery initially would be weak, and that more jobs would be lost even as the recovery begins. But after a year-and-a-half of doomsday-like headlines about crumbling financial institutions, free-falling home values, eroding retirement savings and skyrocketing unemployment, we’ll take just about any positive news on the economic front.

The signs of a recovery are there, Bernanke said. And we can see them right here in McHenry County. March home sales showed a healthy increase over February locally, and, statewide, median home prices increased month over month for the first time since June 2008.

The county also has had some positive news on the industrial front.

Elecpac Industries in Cary was bought recently by a German conglomerate and renamed Schott Elecpac. The new owner plans to expand its production line and add workers during the next fiscal year, which starts in October.

And Aero Industries, a graphite and machining company in Elk Grove Village, is relocating to Harvard this summer, moving into 20,000 square feet at Arrowhead Industrial Park.

Tough times still are ahead.

Many folks likely won’t regain what they’ve lost during this recession – whether in home value, retirement savings, income – for a while. But the economic news, finally, is encouraging. And we’ll take that, no matter how tempered it is.

­—The Northwest Herald