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July 23, 2020

Mass. unemployment claims fall 24%, but still total 18K

Photo | Grant Welker Many restaurants have resumed dining — at least outdoors — as coronvirus case numbers have dwindled, including Sturbridge Seafood in Sturbridge.

Unemployment claims filed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic have increased to 1,135,819 in Massachusetts, according to the U.S Department of Labor data released Thursday.

There were 18,313 new claims made throughout the week ending July 18, which is 5,818, or 24%, less than the week prior. The Labor Department on Thursday adjusted the number of claims made the week ending July 11, increasing from 23,665 to 24,131.

In the month of June, although coronavirus seems to be under better control, Massachusetts unemployment rate rose to 17.4%, up from May’s 16.6%. That gave Massachusetts the worst unemployment rate of any state.

Between June 2019 and June 2020 it is estimated that Massachusetts lost 529,800 jobs. That number may indicate that many who've filed for unemployment since the pandemic began have yet to return to their jobs.

The biggest losses included jobs within leisure and hospitality, construction, and trade, transportation, and utilities.

Leisure and hospitality jobs have been cut in half this year, but gained 19% in June, according to state data. Construction has also rebounded, gaining 16% last month.

Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce development data for the week ending of July 18 was not available Thursday morning. In the week ending July 11, new claims were highest in health and social assistance (2,894 new claims), manufacturing (2,098), and food and accommodation (1,773), according to the office.

The latest unemployment numbers come after Gov. Charlie Baker's continued guidance on reopenings and restrictions in the first step of Phase Three of his economic reopening pla .  

Nationally, there were 1.4 million claims filed last week, which is 109,000 more than the week prior's 1.3 million. In total, the country has had roughly 53.6 million unemployment claims filed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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