MassFiscal Responds to New Unemployment Numbers

Last week, 103,040 Massachusetts residents filed, 5.2M nationally

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance made the following statement today in response to yesterday’s release of the latest unemployment figures that show 103,040 Massachusetts residents filed for unemployment last week (April 5 to 11). Nationally, the number of people filing for unemployment stands at 5.2 million. Since the start of the social distancing policies associated with the coronavirus, over 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment.


To put those numbers into perspective, if every resident of New England filed for unemployment, you would still need to add a state the size of Maryland to reach the number of filers across the country. According to an April 8 report published by the Pioneer Institute, Massachusetts unemployment may hit 25% by June if action is not taken. Their study predicted the actual number of unemployed in Massachusetts would hit 681,526 for first quarter of this year.


According to the Tax Foundation’s April 9 report, Massachusetts is tied for the fourth worst state in the country for funds available for unemployment benefits, with only six weeks of funding available as of last week. California is the worst state with only four weeks left starting last week.


According to a Reuters story published late yesterday, Fitch Ratings dropped Illinois’ credit rating to a notch above junk, saying the state was in a tenuous position. This is the first state downgrade since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country. Like Massachusetts, Illinois is under a stay-at-home order that has shuttered nonessential businesses.


“The total number of unemployed in Massachusetts is almost the size of the population of Vermont. Credit rating agencies are beginning to look at state finances, and Massachusetts cannot be that far behind of Illinois. National and state tax experts are warning Massachusetts State House leaders to pay attention to the state’s finances and its record-breaking unemployment levels,” stated Paul D. Craney, spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.


“State House leaders need to start thinking about this now or there won’t be much left of our state to reopen,” continued Craney.


“Small business owners across the country are cutting back in order to weather this crisis. State government needs to follow their lead and begin to reduce their overall spending. Massachusetts is already the most indebted state per-capita in the country. It’s time for State House leaders to begin making some tough decisions. Not even the taxpayers will be able to foot the bill for their lavish spending if leaders end up letting our economy collapse,” concluded Craney.

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