It has been a bountiful season for the Vineyard’s bay scallop fishery, but scallopers struggled to capitalize due to an atrophied market.


With summer at the halfway point, Island businesses have begun to tally the numbers.


Martha’s Vineyard is showing signs of recovery after the recession, including in construction and real estate. But a seasonal economy and lack of affordable housing continue to pose challenges.


The good news for the Vineyard economy is that in the first three months of this year banks loaned some $240 million for new mortgages, well above the numbers for the previous two recession years.

Even better, said Chris Wells, president and chief executive officer of the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, most of that was for new purchases rather than refinancing of existing loans, the biggest part of the mortgage business during the downturn.


Despite the claimed end of the recession, the number of foreclosure proceedings on the Vineyard appears to be increasing, along with unemployment.

Analysis of the space taken up by foreclosure-related advertising in the Gazette shows that it took up more than twice the column inches in the December quarter of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

And Chris Wells, president of the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, said this week he believed unemployment on the Island could be as high as 50 per cent over the next couple of months.


Amid mixed reports about whether the recession is easing its grip on the nation, the Vineyard economy remains in decline and has yet to hit bottom, merchants, tradesmen and bankers said this week.

Unemployment on the Island is still high — especially among contractors — while many businesses ended the calendar year with sluggish sales and little hope for a better spring or summer. In Edgartown alone at least 10 retail stores have closed their doors for good this winter, and some observers put the number closer to 20.