Huge New Unemployment Numbers Have Silver Lining for Massachusetts

The number of people who filed for unemployment in the first set of numbers from April dropped by about 40,000 from the week before

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While 6.6 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to national data, as the coronavirus continues to put record numbers of people out of work, figures for Massachusetts showed somewhat encouraging signs.

In the first set of numbers from April, 139,582 people in the Bay State filed unemployment claims, a drop of about 40,000 over the previous week. 

"Maybe it’s a little encouraging in the sense that the worst part of the joblessness has already happened, but these high numbers are still quite staggering,” Boston University economics professor Johannes Schmieder said. “I do think there will also be a very protracted and deep economic recession that comes after this.”

The national figures, released by the Department of Labor Thursday, bring the national total of new unemployment claims to more than 16 million in the past three weeks.

"Now you really have to go back to the 1920's to see unemployment rates that high," Schmieder said, noting that rates haven't been this bad since the Great Depression.

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