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News -> This Week's News Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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 County's jobless rate drops to 5 percent

Newaygo County’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in several years according to recently released numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Newaygo County Economic Development Office Executive Director Andy Lofgren reported that, through the end of October, unemployment is at just five percent and is tied for the 11th best rate in the state. 

“Not that long ago, in 2010, we ranked 37th in the state out of 83 counties,” Lofgren said. “At that time, our unemployment rate was 12.5 percent, so we are very pleased with these numbers and it is a reflection of the positive job growth that we have seen for the past four years.”

Lofgren added that Newaygo County is well ahead of both the US rate (5.7 percent) and the overall State of Michigan rate of 6.4 percent.

Lofgren explained that these numbers are cyclical, so they must be viewed relative to a larger time-frame, but that they have been trending downward for the past few years.

“We started the year 2010 at 15.7 percent unemployment,” Lofgren said, “so to be sitting at just five percent today is a huge improvement.   It also speaks very well of the many employers throughout the county who were dedicated to doing what it took to provide and keep jobs for area residents.”

Maintaining and increasing job opportunities is an ongoing effort among county and township governments, area employers, legislators and NCEDO.  Lofgren said that, for instance, over the past 14 years Newaygo County manufacturers have invested more than $308 million in the local economy in the form of improvements to plants and equipment.  


“It is a constant effort on the part of a lot of people to grow and keep jobs in any location,” Lofgren said. “We are thrilled to see these numbers so low, but that doesn’t mean that anybody can relax. We will continue to work together to seize every opportunity to make Newaygo County an appealing place to live and work.”





Shopping with Ken... By Ken DeLaat
Crunch time for the local shopper

A week.

Just a few days remaining now, and those of us who have yet to truly embark on any kind of concerted effort toward completion of any gifting obligations are either beginning to feel just a tad more than a little anxious, or we are steeped in a deep ditch of denial.

Yes, little time is left, and even less is available to you. After all, there are the demands of your job and the various commitments inherent to this time of year with work, friend or family parties. The drive to GR or Muskegon on a weekend has little appeal and joining in on the close-to-Christmas crush of like-minded citizenry inhabiting the large-scale stores and parking lots that surround them does little to whet the Christmas spirit.

You my friend, if uninitiated to the concept of shopping local, are in for a rather life-altering experience should you choose to follow the advice of the wizened (see old) Shopping with Ken staff and security force.


Newaygo has books, art works, jerky and other fun meats, a wide span of clothing from casual to active wear to funky and fashionable, fishing and hunting gear, fabric and fiber, and antiques.


Fremont is filled with opportunities up and down the main drag, from downtown to the west end. Gently used items and collectibles abound, clothing and quilting options are available, and an entire venue is dedicated to local artists’ creations and, of course, that old standby for those looking for the “Wow” factor: jewelry.


Thinking of tools, hardware, items for the home? These towns as well as Grant, White Cloud and Hesperia boast fine establishments of this ilk.


Our county has a wealth of eating establishments that welcome the purchase of gift certificates. From the Red Anchor, Hit The Road Joe and Northern Trails west to Spanky’s, Seasons and Loco Burrito. From The Old Iron Bar and Grill and The Depot north through City Limits and the Riverstop, past Sally’s then on to Abner’s and many more in between, the possibilities are plentiful.


Shopping Local is about giving you the chance to do your present purchasing with minimal investment of your most precious commodity, time, and all the while supporting the enterprises that help bring distinctiveness and diversity to our splendid area. These are the same businesses who help drive our local economy and create a ripple effect benefiting our schools, public services, non-profits and philanthropic organizations.


So with less than a week left and so many things on your personal agenda, give Shop Local a try. You will not be sorry you did, and it may alter your shopping habits for years to come.


Buy Local, Be Local

And Look for the Bounty

In our Fair County.










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