Low Unemployment Remains Mixed Bag for Cape & Islands

HYANNIS – It continues to be a mix of good news and bad news for unemployment on Cape Cod.

The rate for June was 3.7 percent, down for 3.8 percent last year and 3.9 percent in May.

David Augustinho, the Cape and Islands Workforce Development Board executive director, said the good news is that everyone who wants a job has a job.

“It sounds like good news from out end, but the reality is that this makes it very difficult for employers to source the human resource needs that they have to fill,” Augustinho said.

The June rate for Nantucket was 2.5 percent, down from 3.3 percent in May, but up just slightly from 2.4 percent last year. Unemployment on Martha’s Vineyard was 3.3 percent, the same as last June and down 1.2 percent from May.

“Oh my goodness, we are going full blast,” Augustinho said. “It’s a double edged sword. We have great low unemployment and everyone is working who wants to work but we have more jobs than we have people available for them.”

The rates on the Cape and Islands are all under the statewide unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in June.

Augustinho says unemployment for the region is usually lower than the state rate during the summer but the year round numbers have been much closer in recent years.

“I think that is attributed to the fact that a good part of the Cape is much more of a year-round economy than just a seasonal economy,” he said. “I think the region from Orleans to the Upper Cape is much more of a year-round economy than it was when I started here 17 years ago.”

Augustinho said the Workforce Development Board is continuing to work with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce in an effort to recruit workers to the region from hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico.

“That’s a slow process,” he said. “It’s very hard to recruit people from there.”

Augustinho said the individuals who want to work in the United States have already left Puerto Rico.

“The ones who are there are people who want to be there and don’t really want to leave to come to the United States,” he said.

Unemployment for Plymouth County was 4 percent in June, which was down 0.1 percent from last year and up 0.5 percent from May.

The state rate of 3.9 percent was down from 4 percent last June, but also up 0.6 percent from May.

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