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Moore About Business: Lee County recovers from a bruising economy

Matt Simmons, managing partner of Maxwell Hendry and Simmons, a local real estate appraisal firm, recently shared his views on how Lee County is responding to the economic impact of Hurricane Ian.

"Anytime you go through something like this, you kind of look for some level of past experience to reference back to," Simmons said. "We don't really have territory to measure this on."

Simmons then addressed other factors that impact this region's recovery.

"We can be, you know, performing really well as an economy, and have all the right things in place," he continued. "But a lot of what drives our tax dollars is what's happening at a macroeconomic level outside of our market. And so I think it's reasonable to say we were seeing already for a few months prior to storm, some of the macroeconomic factors that have already been taking place in other areas."

So, could Lee County have been better prepared economically to absorb the blow thrown by Hurricane Ian?

"If there was ever a county that you would look at and say, 'gosh, you know, there as great as they can be'. I think it's the Lee County, based on what just happened. I mean, our economy has been on fire here. We have been hitting on all cylinders. 28% population growth since 2010. Our job growth rate, it has been 530% greater than the national average over that same period of time. We most recently were down to a 2.6% unemployment rate and most of our jurisdictions from municipalities have record revenues. We've given ourselves everything we can going into this to be in a position to succeed."

He concluded, "There is oftentimes an economic boom that takes place after a disaster. Not that any of us would want it for that reason. But there's a certain amount of commerce that compulsion has to happen. It needs to happen quickly. But for some of those who are concerned about, you know, bottom pulling out of the economy, there is a tremendous inflow of capital here right now. But, I think our economy is in really good health."

Karen Moore is a contributing partner for WGCU and the publisher of SWFL Business Today.

Publisher of SWFL Business Today