BOSTON (CBS/AP) — About 41 million Americans have now applied for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus outbreak intensified in March, and 21 million are currently receiving aid. Massachusetts reported another 37,740 initial claims, roughly the same as the previous week, federal numbers show.

The United States saw about 2.1 million new claims last week, a sign that companies are still slashing jobs in the face of a deep recession even as more businesses reopen and rehire some laid-off employees. The national jobless rate was 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression.

Massachusetts also saw nearly 148,000 new applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program for self-employed workers, contractors and “gig economy” workers who are not covered by the traditional unemployment system.

The state warned this week that residents are being targeted in a nationwide scam, in which people are using stolen personal information from previous data breaches to file for fraudulent unemployment claims.

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) said it has begun additional identity verification measures that will “temporarily delay the payment timeframe for many unemployment claims in Massachusetts” in response to the scam.

Learn more about applying for unemployment in Massachusetts here.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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