BOSTON (CBS) – Unemployment numbers have reached historic highs at the national level and in Massachusetts.

According to the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, nearly 150,000 people applied for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts in the last week alone. That’s an increase of more than 1,900% over the week before.

“It’s an historic jump,” said Boston College Professor Bob Murphy. “We have never seen a surge like that one week to the next in Massachusetts. Of course nationally. The surge to 3.3 million was again an historic jump. Even during the Great Recession, we did not see a sudden rise like this.”

When Jamal Thornton filed for unemployment, he got an email response. “Our records show that you have not earned enough wages to qualify.”

He’s applied for 15 jobs in the last week, with no success. “That could be like weeks upon weeks from now, without me getting anything from unemployment,” he said. “I’m kind of just making no money right now.”

When Governor Charlie Baker announced Thursday that he filed for federal disaster assistance, he said a portion of that money would go to people who’ve recently lost jobs.

“It would mitigate the impact of this disaster on this particular group of workers,” said Baker. “We hope to see the Feds move on this as quickly as possible so we can get those resources deployed to our residents as soon as possible.”

Christina Hager

  1. How can he have not earned enough to qualify? Even if you only work 25 hours per week at minimum wage you should qualify for unemployment. Should have asked him, if he got laid off, how many hours was he working, and how many months had he been working at that restaraunt.

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