The past six weeks of Massachusetts unemployment claims total 24.0 percent of civilian workforce

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The U.S. Department of Labor released its weekly report on jobless claims this morning at 8:30 a.m., reporting that Massachusetts received 70,714 initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims during the week ended April 25. This brings the total of unemployment claims filed in Massachusetts since March 14, the beginning of the unemployment surge, to 725,018

In addition to these regular unemployment claims, Massachusetts began taking claims on April 20 for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) authorized by Congress in its $2.2. trillion CARES Act, which extended eligibility to individuals who did not previously qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, including self-employed and contract workers in the so-called gig economy.  From April 20 to April 25, there were a total of 171,598 PUA claims filed in Massachusetts, according to the Executive Office of Workforce Development.

In the six weeks from March 15 to April 25, Massachusetts received a total of 896,616 claims for unemployment insurance, including UI and PUA claims. This totals 24.0 percent of the total Massachusetts civilian workforce on March 14, 2020.


Massachusetts Unemployment claims filed since March 14, 2020

Civilian labor force March 14 3,740,602
Unemployment March 14 108,619
Initial Claims Week ended March 21 148,452
Initial Claims Week ended March 28 181,423
Initial Claims Week ended April 4 139,647
Initial Claims Week ended April 11 103,813
Initial Claims Week ended April 18 80,969
Initial Claims Week ended April 25 70,714
Total of UI claims March 14 to April 25 725,018
Total of PUA claims March 15 to April 25 171,598
Total claims from March 14 to April 25 (UI and PUA claims) 896,616
Total UI and PUA claims as a percentage of March 14 MA civilian workforce 24.0%

Gregory W. Sullivan is the Research Director at the Pioneer Institute, overseeing the divisions PioneerPublic and PioneerOpportunity. He also previously served as Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 10 years and in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for 17 years. Mr. Sullivan has a Master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard University and a second Master’s degree concentrating in finance from the Sloan School at MIT.