Economic Impact of Cape Cod Harbors

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The Cape Cod Commission and Urban Harbors Institute at UMass Boston conducted a study to better understand the economic importance of maintaining the functionality of Cape Cod’s harbors. A survey was conducted in the spring of 2020 and leveraged the IMPLAN input-output model to evaluate the economic impacts of employment at harbor-adjacent or -dependent businesses. Although the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the survey response rate, over 100 businesses responded in the four towns that the study focuses on: Chatham, Dennis, Falmouth, and Provincetown. The six harbors within the study areas were Inner Harbor and Great Harbor in Falmouth, Sesuit Harbor in Dennis, Stage Harbor and Aunt Lydia’s Cove in Chatham, and Provincetown Harbor. These survey respondents directly employed 2,328 people across 58 industries, leading to a total employment (direct, indirect, and induced impacts of business and household spending) of 4,446 people. The direct compensation of employees in the top ten industries identified in this study, using survey responses alone, was nearly $150 million. That number would greatly increase should the compensation of employees in every establishment within the study areas be counted. The contributions of businesses that are part of the water-dependent “Blue Economy” on Cape Cod, as well as those that self-identify as harbor-dependent, are highlighted in the Results section. Businesses located along the coast and reliant on access to the harbors are significant economic drivers for Cape Cod. Maintaining and/or enhancing harbor functionality should be a priority for coastal communities in order to secure and improve the economic benefits—including employment—of these industries, and the impacts of climate change must be integrated into capital planning efforts to preserve these facilities into the future.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //