I just saw on the White House press conference that President Obama will be coming to Fort Myers on Tuesday for some kind of town hall meeting to plug the stimulus package. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted that a year ago, the unemployment rate here was 7%, but that it is now up to 10%.
During the housing boom, this area had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, because everyone was building houses. With the crash of the housing market a couple of years ago, the people who used to work in construction were thrown out of work. This area had been overbuilt for the population, but everyone thought that they were going to get rich from real estate, buying properties and turning around and flipping them for big profits. It worked during the housing bubble, but when the bubble burst, the speculators were ruined. And because they had built so many new houses that nobody could afford to buy, many of them stood empty. Even more were abandoned half-completed.
I hope that Obama's people do their homework and understand the sort of questions they are likely to field at the town hall meeting. While both Vice-President Biden and Governor Palin made appearances here during the campaign, this will be Obama's first visit to Fort Myers. The good news for him is that that he should get some nice weather, much nicer than Washington. The bad news is that he won't have much time here to enjoy it.