Fewer Jobless, Fewer Jobs

Nov 26, 2011 by

By STEVE DOANE
sdoane@capecodonline.com
Cape Cod Times
November 23, 2011

Employment numbers on the Cape are looking slightly brighter than a year ago, according to new statistics from the state.

Numbers released on Tuesday from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development show that the unemployment rate in the Cape and Islands area has dropped to 6.7 percent in October, down from 7.4 percent a year ago. A mild upward trend in employment on Cape Cod is something local businesses cautiously applaud.

“When you see numbers trending in the right direction, it creates that confidence that is critical for businesses to hire, said Bob Dubois, executive director of the Yarmouth Area Chamber of Commerce.

In a year-to-year analysis between October 2010 and October 2011, the Cape and Islands labor force has shrunk by about 1,500, from about 141,000 to 139,500. Most of that drop has come from the Cape, according to the data.

The number of employed residents has remained steady at just around 130,000, while the number of those without a job has dropped from about 10,400 to 9,200 over that same period.

This reduction in the overall labor pool can’t be attributed to a single over-arching cause; rather, it’s most likely a combination of factors, said David Augustinho, executive director of the Cape and Islands Workforce Investment Board, based in Hyannis.

These causes range from discrepancies in the survey used to collect the data to people retiring from the labor force, he said.

Cape Cod usually experiences large but predictable fluctuations in its unemployment rate because of the highly seasonal nature of its economy, Augustinho said.

In January and February, the rate topped 12 percent, well over the state average, whereas the summer and shoulder seasons came in about a percentage point less than the state mark.

The trend, however, points to an overall improvement.

“Our unemployment is better every month,” Augustinho said. “While it’s not a rapid return to pre-recession employment, it’s a slow and steady rise.”

This rise is particularly important to Cape residents, some of whom patch together two or three jobs to create year-round employment, said Spyro Mitrokostas, executive director the Dennis Chamber of Commerce.

That method has been harder to maintain as the number of jobs on the Cape has dwindled, but the statistics are encouraging, he said.

Statewide, the unemployment rate for October was 6.8, a full percentage point less than last year and down from 7.2 percent in September. The statistics also show that several markets across the state added jobs during the past year.

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Leave a Reply