The U.S. Census Bureau issued a release Thursday announcing the fastest-growing "metros" in the country.
Cape Coral-Fort Myers came in at No. 6, based on data collected between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014.
The Villages, a retirement community in central Florida, came in first for the second year running with Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton and Panama City coming in among the top 20.
The Census Bureau reports that the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro gained about 18,000 people in the reporting year.
In terms of economic recovery - a return to normalcy - the ranking is a pretty good indicator that as a community we're on our way.
Why is "growth" good news?
While few among us would ever wish for east coast densities, additional retirees, families and singles means a lessening of dwindling but still continuing foreclosures and short sales. It means that houses that go on the market will sell quicker - and at prices that are a lot closer to actual value than we've seen in the last few years.
For those of us still making payments on mortgage notes for "underwater" homes that we've hung onto nonetheless, a recovered housing market would be good news, indeed.
"Growth" also means jobs, the type of jobs that provide not only enough to pay the bills week to week - maybe - but enough to allow for some discretionary spending.
That would be construction and construction-driven jobs as our primary economic driver recovers with the numbers.
These are the types of jobs that went away when the housing market collapsed and these are the jobs that Lee County continues to lack to its detriment.
Well-paying skilled labor and professional jobs provide what economists often refer to "multiplier effects." Simply put, that means they foster the growth of other businesses, spur the creation of other jobs.
That's a good thing for anyone who lives and works in our community.
Are we "pro growth?"
Absolutely and unapologetically as we've never thought the phrase has to mean any of the spectors its critics raise: A blank check for "developers," unbridled urban sprawl or environmental wreckage.
In this case, "growth" simply means the light at the end of what has been a very dark, very long tunnel is growing brighter.
That is welcome news indeed.