Barnstable County Unemployment Rate Down in February

BARNSTABLE – The unemployment rate on Cape Cod in fell a half percent in February from the previous year.

Cape & Islands Workforce Development Board Executive Director David Augustinho said the numbers were pretty good for the month as the rate fell to 7.1 percent year-over-year and was up just 0.3 percent from January.

Barnstable County also saw year-over-year increases in the number of people who are in the Labor Force and employed. The Labor Force increased from 105,480 to 107,627 from February of 2017.

“The fact that we have more people willing to engage in the Labor Force even in February is a pretty good sign, also,” said Augustinho.

Year-over-year unemployment rates for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket remained the same with slight increases from January.

The rate for Plymouth County fell from 4.7 to 4.4 percent from last February.

The state as a whole saw its rate drop from 4.4 to 4 percent from last February. The statewide rate remained the same from the month before.

The lower unemployment rates point to a strong economy for the region, but employers who rely on season workers during the tourist season could suffer.

“It’s very difficult to hire people,” Augustinho said. “Employers are not receiving the response that they were getting in previous years with their advertisements looking for people and it does not bode well for our summer workforce.”

The Workforce Development Board is working with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce to try to source individuals from Puerto Rico due to issues with securing visa workers.

“Puerto Ricans are American citizens so it’s not the same kind of rigmarole that you have to go through to try to get H-2B employees here or even J1 visa employees here,” Augustinho said.

The groups have been working with the state to source Puerto Rican workers for the summer season.

“I know that we have sourced some – nowhere near as many as we would like – but we are doing a little better with that than we have in the past,” Augustinho said.

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