BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts saw another 55,448 initial unemployment claims last week as job losses continue to mount due to the coronavirus crisis. That’s a drop from the 71,358 claims filed in the week before, according to Labor Department statistics.
Across the country, about 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. That brings the total number of lost jobs to about 33 million since the pandemic hit.
CBS News reports that an unprecedented one-fifth of the nation’s labor force has sought jobless benefits in recent weeks.
Since mid-March, 777,232 in Massachusetts have filed claims under the state’s traditional unemployment system. And roughly 185,00 self-employed workers, contractors and “gig economy” workers who are not typically covered have been seeking help through the newly established Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
There are now more than 1,300 customer service staff members working at the Department of Unemployment Assistance, up from just 50 a month ago.
The food and accommodation, retail trade, and healthcare and social assistance continue to be the industries with the highest job losses due to the pandemic.
Learn more about applying for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts here.