This week has brought some good news on the economic front.
Cape Coral business leaders speaking at Catch the Vision reported that there are some real improvements to our hard-hit housing market.
Bobby Mahan, owner and broker for Century 21, told those attending the economic summit and trade show that from October 2011 to October 2012, residential home listing prices rose approximately 14 percent. Over the course of the last year, listing prices for condominiums in the Cape have risen about 23 percent.
Meanwhile, "inventory" - the number of units for sale - has tightened, meaning the housing glut that drove prices to record declines has lessened.
That is good news, indeed.
On Friday, the Governor's Office reported that the state's unemployment numbers have dropped to a four-year low.
"Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent for the month of October, the lowest since December 2008," the release states. "The state also experienced positive job growth of 12,100 new private sector jobs, while the October 2012 rate was 1.7 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 10.2 percent. Since December 2010, the state's unemployment rate has dropped 2.6 percentage points and 174,500 private sector jobs have been created.
That is good news as well.
However, our economy, especially here in Lee County, is not back to full health, at least not yet.
It's more like we're able to totter to the kitchen for another dose of NyQuil while thinking we might just be well enough to sit at the table and sip some soup now that the worst is behind us and recovery may be ahead.
For many, though, the cubbard is bare, soup is still scare, and hope needs some help.
To that end, numerous groups and organizations are conducting food and toy drives to make things a little better for our neighbors in need.
Among them is the Harry Chapin Food Bank, which is planning to provide 3,000 Thanksgiving turkeys this year.
Until Wednesday, turkeys can be dropped off at the Harry Chapin Food Bank warehouse, at 3760 Fowler St., in Fort Myers. Checks may be mailed to that address and donations may be made online at www.harrychapinfoodbank.org .
It's a great charity. Last year Harry Chapin distributed 12.5 million pounds of food - about 1 million pounds per month - through various pantries and agencies.
Donations are always welcome - and always needed during the holidays.
The annual Toys for Tots Drive also is under way.
The Marine Corp League is collecting new, unwrapped toys for distribution to needy families throughout the area. It, too, fills a holiday need, last year distributing 23,266 toys to more than 11,300 children.
The drive's major collection day is Dec. 1 when postal carriers will pick up toys left on mail routes.
There also are numerous dropoff points throughout the community, including The Breeze office at 2510 Del Prado Blvd., Belk, Cape Coral Eye Centers and Century 21, as well as all Walgreens, State Farm and Advanced Auto locations. For a complete list of drop-off sites, visit fort-myers-fl.toysfortots.org .
If you are able, please consider giving what you can as we move toward the holiday when we, as a country, pause to be grateful for what we have.
May you and yours have a very happy Thanksgiving.
- Breeze editorial