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News Release Information

Friday, April 24, 2015

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (617) 565-4141

Unemployment on Cape Cod And The Islands - January 2015

Wintertime Unemployment Rate Down on Cape Cod from Previous Year

In January, Barnstable County, Mass., reported the lowest unemployment rate among the three counties that make up Cape Cod and the Islands, at 8.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See chart 1.) Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that Barnstable’s jobless rate was above the national average of 6.1 percent. Dukes (Martha’s Vineyard) and Nantucket Counties also had rates above that for the United States, at 11.6 and 12.1 percent, respectively. (See chart 1. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains county definitions. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)


Among the three counties that comprise Cape Cod and the Islands, Barnstable posted the only over-the-year decrease in its jobless rate, down 0.8 percentage point. Dukes and Nantucket Counties had unemployment rates in January 2015 that were up 0.2 and 0.1 percentage point, respectively from one year ago. The national unemployment rate fell 0.9 percentage point over this same time period.


Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States, and counties comprising Cape Cod and the Islands, not seasonally adjusted
AreaUnemployment ratesNet change from
January 2012January 2013January 2014January 2015January 2012 to January 2013January 2013 to January 2014January 2014 to January 2015(1)

United States

Barnstable County, Mass.


Dukes County, Mass.


Nantucket County, Mass.


(1) County data are preliminary for the most recent month.

Both Barnstable and Nantucket had lower jobless rates in January 2015 than were reported three years ago. (See table A and chart 1.) The unemployment rate in Cape Cod fell 1.9 percentage points from January 2012 to January 2015, while the rate in Nantucket was down 1.6 points during this time. The unemployment rate for Dukes County was unchanged from three years earlier. Nationally, the unemployment rate declined 2.7 percentage points over this three-year period.

Technical Note

This release presents unemployment rate data for counties from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, a federal-state cooperative endeavor.

Definitions.  The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The LAUS program measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis.  The universe for each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over.  Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation.  Unemployed persons are those who were not employed during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.  The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons.  The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Method of estimation.  Estimates for the substate areas in this release are prepared through indirect estimation procedures using a building-block approach.  Employment estimates, which are based largely on "place of work" estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, are adjusted to refer to place of residence as used in the CPS.  Unemployment estimates are aggregates of persons previously employed in industries covered by state unemployment insurance (UI) laws and entrants to the labor force data from the CPS.  The substate estimates of employment and unemployment, which geographically exhaust the entire state, are adjusted proportionally to ensure that they add to the independently estimated state or balance-of-state totals.  A detailed description of the estimation procedures is available from BLS upon request.

Annual revisions.  Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year, usually implemented with January estimates.  The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation.

Area definitions:  The Cape Cod and the Islands area includes:

Barnstable County which consists of the towns of Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth.

Dukes County which consists of the towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury.

Nantucket County which consists of the town of Nantucket.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request.  Voice phone:  (202) 691-5200; TDD message referral phone:  1-800-877-8339.


Last Modified Date: Friday, April 24, 2015