BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts reported another 70,714 initial unemployment claims to the federal government last week. That’s down from 80,969 in the previous week, but nearly 900,000 in the state have lost work since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Nationwide, 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. That brings the total number of people who have sought aid since March to at least 30 million, which CBS News reports is the “fastest loss of jobs on record.”
‘This is a decline from the week before, but still more than five times the previous all-time high,” Nick Bunker, director of the Indeed Hiring Lab, said in a statement about the national numbers. “A number in the low millions may be a relief compared to earlier this month, but it’s objectively a horrifying statistic.”
Massachusetts recently became one of the first states to set up a process where people who were not previously in the unemployment system can apply for CARES Act benefits, like the extra $600 per week approved by Congress. That group includes self-employed workers, contracts who get a 1099 form and “gig economy” workers.
“So far the system has seen well over 150,000 applications and has paid out nearly half a billion dollars in benefits to the people who’ve applied,” Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday.
Since March 15, Massachusetts has seen 893,607 combined claims from those seeking standard unemployment insurance and the group applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Data from the state shows that the industries hit hardest by the pandemic are food and accommodation, retail trade, and health care and social assistance.
Learn more about applying for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts here.