Massachusetts jobless claims over a million since coronavirus crisis began

Someone completing an unemployment benefits form.
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Jobless claims in Massachusetts sailed past 1 million this week, illustrating the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered businesses across the state.

Massachusetts has fielded 1,079,783 unemployment claims since mid-March, according to federal data released Thursday.

Out-of-work residents filed 44,467 new claims for traditional unemployment last week, for a total of 824,783 since March 15. Another 255,000 people have filed claims under the temporary federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program meant to help gig workers, the self-employed and others not traditionally covered by unemployment insurance since it launched April 20.

Even as Massachusetts hits a major threshold of more than 1 million jobless, the number of first-time applications has declined for six straight weeks after a high of 181,423 the week ending March 27, suggesting a dwindling number of companies are still cutting payrolls.

  • March 29 to April 4: 139,647 new claims
  • April 5 to 11: 103,040
  • April 12 to 18: 80,969
  • April 19 to 25: 71,358
  • April 26 to May 2: 55,884
  • May 3 to 9: 44,467

Massachusetts unemployment figures mirror what’s happening on the national stage, where roughly 36 million people have filed for unemployment aid since the viral outbreak began — including 3 million laid-off workers last week alone.

By historical standards, though, the latest tally shows that the number of weekly jobless claims remains enormous, reflecting an economy that is sinking into a severe downturn. Last week’s pace of new applications for aid is still four times the record high that prevailed before the coronavirus struck hard in March.

Jobless workers in some states are still reporting difficulty applying for or receiving benefits.

Herald wire services contributed to this report