Cape & Islands Unemployment Reaching Historic Low Rates

HYANNIS – Unemployment on the Cape and Islands is reaching historically low rates.

The rate on Cape Cod for August was 3.1 percent which was down slightly from last August and down 0.3 percent from July.

Unemployment on Martha’s Vineyard was down 0.2 percent from last year and 0.4 percent from July to 2.3 percent.

The Nantucket rate, of 1.7 percent, remained the same from August of 2017 and was down from 2 percent in July.

“I’ve been doing this for 18 years and I have never seen numbers like these,” said David Augustinho, the executive director of the MassHire Cape and Islands Workforce Board.

Augustinho said the current labor shortage has been tough on local employers.

“There is no doubt that employers are hard-pressed to find employees, especially to staff up the hospitality industry and seasonal businesses,” Augustinho said.

Although some seasonal businesses run through Columbus Day, Augustinho said they need to already be thinking about next year.

“If something like the H-2B program is something that they are interested in they need to be looking at that as soon as possible,” he said.

The Workforce Board and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce worked to get workers for the region from Puerto Rico displaced after last year’s devastating hurricane.

“It has not been a rich source for employers to draw from,” Augustinho said.

He said the visa programs are also drying up due to the national sentiment on immigrants in general.

“We will continue to work with employers to try to source whether it is visa employees or U.S. citizens to staff up for next season,” Augustinho said. “We barely finished the last one but it is time to start thinking about it.”

The stock market is on a historic run and employment is at all-time highs and Augustinho said there is no doubt in his mind that conditions will change.

Statewide unemployment in August was 3.5 percent, which was down from 3.9 percent in July and 3.6 percent the previous year.

About NewsCenter

The award-winning NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy