The jobless rate on the Vineyard fell slightly in 2012 compared with the previous year, according to data from a recent state report.
While the region, with its resort-based economy showed predictable seasonal fluctuations (unemployment higher than the state average in winter and lower in the summer), the report from the state Office of Labor and Workforce Development found that monthly unemployment rates were down for the first 11 months of 2012 when compared with 2011.
The November data was released in late December. The unemployment rate peaked in February at 12.2 per cent, well above the state average of 7.5 per cent, and fell to 3.6 per cent in August, below the state average of 6.4 per cent. Data was not yet available for December 2012.
The labor force was largest in August, at 15,366 people, and the smallest in March, at 9,218 people.
While the data shows an upward trend, some on the Island note that residents still struggle with unemployment or underemployment. “From my perspective, a lot of people that we see are having trouble finding work, especially this time of year,” said Sarah Kuh, director of the Vineyard Health Care Access Program.
She said the office is busy helping people with safety net services such as food stamps, and noted that it seems that self-employed people, like contractors and carpenters, are struggling to find business.
“I definitely wouldn’t say it’s better. I’m not really sure it’s worse,” she said.