Cape Jobless Rate Dips Below State Average

Jun 28, 2013 by

June 26, 2013
Cape Cod Times

The Cape and Islands unemployment rate in May remained nearly identical to the same time last year, but dropped below the state average for the first time this year.

The jobless rate for the Cape and Islands was 6.5 percent last month, according to data released Tuesday by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

The region had a 6.6 percent unemployment rate in May 2012. The state average last month was 6.8 percent.

“We are very happy to be holding our own,” said David Augustinho, executive director of the Cape and Islands Workforce Development Board. He anticipates that the area will continue to see “slight incremental improvements” in the coming months in comparison to last year.

Barnstable County recorded a 6.6 percent jobless rate last month, compared to 6.7 percent the year before.

Kris Dower, director of Cape-based Career Opportunities, said her job center was having a hard time finding enough workers to fill job vacancies on the Cape since this spring.

The Workforce Investment Board, which oversees Career Opportunities, hopes to combat that partly by opening up a location in Falmouth this September. In the summer of 2011, it closed its Falmouth and Orleans locations in response to budget cuts. That left just the Hyannis office.

Dower said Career Opportunities is researching a way to run a part-time center in Falmouth. That could mean teaming up with another agency to help with staffing and space.

Career Opportunities’ Falmouth office previously opened 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the agency hopes to hold similar hours at least three days a week.

The Falmouth office worked with 950 clients during the agency’s 2010 fiscal year. The Orleans office worked with 567 individuals.

Dower said about half of the clients from each location have traveled to Hyannis, while the rest have stopped using the agency’s services.

“We are going to find a way to open at least part of the week in Falmouth,” Augustinho said. At a later date, it will consider opening an Orleans location, too.

According to the latest data, the jobless rate for Falmouth last month and in May 2012 was 6.1 percent. Mashpee recorded a 6.2 percent jobless rate last month compared with 6.6 percent in May 2012.

In the past, the full-time centers required at least two staff members at the facilities. By teaming up with a yet-to-be-determined agency, Career Opportunities hopes to make the plan financially possible.

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