BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts saw another 139,582 jobless claims last week according to the latest unemployment data from the Labor Department. That’s about 42,000 fewer claims than the previous week but still an unprecedented number as the coronavirus pandemic hits the workforce hard.
“The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and its impact is also reflected in the increasing levels of insured unemployment,” the Department of Labor noted in its report.
In the past three weeks, there have been nearly 470,000 jobless claims made in Massachusetts.
“To put that number in context, typically in Massachusetts, over the course of the past six or seven months, we would get roughly seven to 10,000 new claims a month,” Gov. Charlie Baker said at a news conference Thursday. “These numbers obviously are staggering.”
Nationwide, 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment in the first week of April. A total of 16.8 million have gone on unemployment in the past month, wiping out nearly a decade of job gains.
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment website says it is “moving swiftly” to add $600 to weekly benefits, retroactive to March 29, from the CARES Act that Congress passed. The state is still asking self-employed workers and others newly covered by the act to hold off on applying until new federal guidance is implemented.