BOSTON (CBS) — Another 80,345 people in Massachusetts filed new unemployment claims last week, the latest federal data shows. That’s down from the approximately 103,813 workers who filed claims in the previous week.
Nationwide, another 4.4 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits. That brings the total number of workers who have lost their jobs since the coronavirus pandemic began to over 26 million.
“Today’s unemployment report shows continued, elevated unemployment claims caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” U.S. Labor Sec. Eugene Scalia said in a statement.
The numbers do not reflect a significant change to the unemployment system in Massachusetts this week. The Baker Administration announced Monday that self-employed workers, consultants who receive 1099 forms and “gig economy” employees can now apply for CARES Act unemployment benefits.
“We’re one of the very few number of states that’s actually accepting online applications for gig workers and has the program integrity that needs to be in place to ensure that we pay appropriately to people who apply,” Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday.
About 650,000 people have filed for unemployment in Massachusetts since March 15.
“It’s been anywhere from 10 to 15 times as many [applications] per week as we’ve ever seen through the system,” Baker said, “and that’s translated into hundreds of thousands of people on traditional unemployment insurance assistance here in Massachusetts.”