Unemployment Claims in Massachusetts Off the Charts in Less Than A Month

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/04/20/unemployment-claims-in-massachusetts-off-the-charts-in-less-than-a-month/

Some 572,562 people filed initial claims for unemployment in Massachusetts between mid-March and the second week of April, according to federal statistics.

The state’s economy went from virtually full employment in mid-March to an unemployment crisis a week later, as the coronavirus emergency shutdowns began.

The week ending Saturday, March 14, 2020 saw 7,449 initial unemployment claims filed in Massachusetts, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The week ending Saturday, March 21 saw 148,452 initial unemployment claims – a jump of 1,893 percent.

Initial claims in subsequent weeks have continued in six figures through Saturday, April 11, the most recent week for which numbers are available.

These weekly figures below for initial unemployment claims in Massachusetts come from a web site of Employment & Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. Each week reported ends on a Saturday. Links are provided for each’s week’s data.


Week ending January 4, 2020            9,464

Week ending January 11, 2020           8,784

Week ending January 18, 2020          6,940

Week ending January 25, 2020          6,022

Week ending February 1, 2020           5,523

Week ending February 8, 2020          5,878

Week ending February 15, 2020        5,393

Week ending February 22, 2020       9,264

Week ending February 29, 2020        4,865

Week ending March 7, 2020               4,712

Week ending March 14, 2020             7,449

Week ending March 21, 2020         148,452

Week ending March 28, 2020        181,423

Week ending April 4, 2020             139,647

Week ending April 11, 2020            103,040


The total initial unemployment claims in Massachusetts filed from the week ending January 4, 2020 through the week ending April 11, 2020 is 646,856.

The unemployment rate in Massachusetts in February 2020 was 2.8 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On Friday, April 17, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate in Massachusetts at 2.9 percent, but that figure is likely to be revised.

Official unemployment rates from the government are calculated by taking the number of people in the workforce and dividing it by the number of out-of-work people seeking a job.

The civilian labor force in Massachusetts in March 2020 stood at 3,740,600, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of filers of initial claims for unemployment in Massachusetts from mid-March to mid-April (572,562) represents about 15 percent of the total civilian work force in the state (3,740,600).

Add in all initial unemployment claim filers in Massachusetts since the beginning of 2020 (646,856), and the portion would be about 17 percent.

Bill Rodgers, a fellow at The Century Foundation, a left-leaning think tank in New York City, recently co-authored an article published on the foundation’s web site suggesting that true unemployment figures in various states are much higher than what has officially been reported so far.

The article does not include figures for Massachusetts. But a spokesman for the foundation told New Boston Post via email on Monday, April 20 that Rodgers, who is a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, estimates the current true unemployment rate in Massachusetts at 25.2 percent.