Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Highest Since Great Depression

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BOSTON — The Massachusetts unemployment rate for April was 15.1 percent, up from 2.9 percent in March and 3.0 percent in April 2019, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

By comparison, economic historians say the peak unemployment rate in Massachusetts during the Great Depression came in 1934, when it hit 25 percent. During the Great Recession that started in December 2007, Massachusetts unemployment topped out at 8.3 percent.

In Massachusetts, 3.05 million people were employed in April, down 17.3 percent from 3.67 million a month earlier.

April’s jobless rate rose while payrolls fell in all 50 states. The federal unemployment rate was 14.7 percent, according to BLS. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in April at 28.2 percent, followed by Michigan (22.7 percent), and Hawaii (22.3 percent).

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Friday’s report is based primarily on household surveys and is more comprehensive than the weekly unemployment claims released by the U.S. Department of Labor. The report offered a more complete look at the first full month of the coronavirus’s toll on the economy. While all 50 states started some form of reopening this month, economists believe it could take years to replace all the jobs lost.

Read the complete Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment report for April.

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