Cape Cod and Islands Unemployment Rates Drop in January

HYANNIS – Cape Cod and the Islands continue to see a drop in unemployment rates.

The rate for Barnstable County in January was down almost 1 percent from last year to 6.4 percent.

Cape and Islands Workforce Development Board Executive Director David Augustinho said there were almost 4,000 more people employed on the Cape compared to last January.

“That’s about 4 percent of our workforce,” Augustinho said.

“That’s a pretty significant bump in the number of people who are employed.”

Unemployment fell from 9.1 to 8 percent in January on Martha’s Vineyard and from 11.3 to 10.6 percent on Nantucket.

“It just continues to demonstrate that individuals who want to be working in this economy can definitely find jobs,” Augustinho said.

Augustinho said employers are having a difficult time filling positions, especially in the construction and landscaping industries.

“The hospitality industry will be needing about 15,000 to 20,000 workers to cover our summer season,” he said.

Augustinho said there have been several efforts over the last few years to recruit more workers from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Both of those areas, of course, don’t require visas for individuals to come and work here because they are American territories,” Augustinho said.

Many who live in those areas don’t want to emigrate to America.

“The people who wanted to emigrate from there and want to be in the United States have done that,” he said.

Augustinho said many employers have been having success with J-1 Visa employers. The J-1 Visa is a cultural visa and is not solely based on employment.

He said many of those visa holders like to travel and they might cut their work time short.

“Instead of having them through the end of September or October they might be leaving in August,” Augustinho said. “But they are a significant source for many of our employers.”

Many J-1 visa workers are already trained for hospitality work.

The unemployment rate for Plymouth County was 3.9 percent in January, which was down from 4.5 percent last year.

The overall rate for Massachusetts fell from 4.1 to 3.6 percent in January from 2018.

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