Cape Cod Unemployment Remains Low, Employers Struggling to Fill Positions

HYANNIS – The Cape and Islands continue to see low unemployment.

The rate for Barnstable County in July was 3.4 percent which remained the same from last July and was down from 3.7 percent in June.

Executive Director of the Cape and Islands Workforce Development Board David Augustinho said the low rates continue to present a good news/bad news situation for the region.

“In general the numbers are good and there are a lot of people working, but the fact is for many of our seasonal businesses, especially, it’s very difficult to attract the human resources that they need,” Augustinho said.

Augustinho said seasonal businesses are having the same issues finding available workers as they did last year.

“It is pretty tough, especially on the restaurants,” he said. “If you don’t have enough service people it is very difficult to provide the service that people expect in an upscale destination.”

Augustinho said the Workforce Development Board continues to work with organizations like the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce to source Puerto Rican workers from the hurricane ravaged island.

“We’ve had a little bit of success with that but not a whole heck of a lot,” he said.

They are also working the federal government around visa issues, especially H-2B workers.

“It’s kind of a push right now,” Augustinho said.

“Part of the issue that works against us is this feeling against immigration in just about any form right now. That’s kind of the tide that we are fighting and it’s a very difficult fight right now.”

Year-round businesses are also struggling to fill available openings as well.

“It’s the same story for our year-round businesses,” he said. “They have trouble attracting talent in the best of times and right now it is nearly impossible for them to find employees that they need to staff up year-round.”

The unemployment rates of 2.7 percent on Martha’s Vineyard and 2 percent on Nantucket are nearly the same as last July.

Both islands saw unemployment fall by about a half percent from June.

Unemployment in the state is at 3.9 percent.

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