‘Whole New Territory': Unemployment Continues to Worsen in Mass.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The latest Massachusetts unemployment numbers show 70,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, making for nearly 750,000 people out of work.

That's about 24% of the workforce.

For the first time in her life, Briana Fontin, a hairstylist at Avante Salon in Needham, is without a job and on unemployment.

"When you don't have your usual income coming in, you definitely have to cut back on some things," Fontin said. "I've been working since I was 15. And I've literally not ever been not working. So it's this whole new territory."

Coronavirus has brought the economy to a standstill, with jobless claims topping 30 million.

Fontin is just one of the tens of thousands of employees in the state now unemployed due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.

"We're in a strange situation where we're very close with clients, we touch clients all day, so even when we do go back, there's going to have to be different measures taken, and I don't think we can push it," she said. "If we do, then we may just have to close again."

May 18 is the earliest Massachusetts could start to reopen.

Fontin says she wants to get back to her clients badly, but is also understanding of Gov. Charlie Baker's cautious approach.

Contact Us