U.S. unemployment claims soar to highest level since pandemic began

Massachusetts

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The latest U.S. initial jobless claims soared to 965,000, the highest level since the pandemic began.

In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker is trying to provide relief for people who are without a job. The Baker-Polito Administration has re-filed legislation that would provide an estimated $1.3 billion in unemployment insurance relief over two years.

Baker-Polito Administration re-files unemployment legislation

The bill would also help businesses deal with other costs that come with the new year. 22News spoke with Nancy Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, who explained the benefits of the legislation.

“Double-digit health insurance premium increases,” Creed said. “We had an increase January 1 in the minimum wage and we’re also having paid family medical leave implementation so all those payments along with the 60 percent increase is a lot for businesses to absorb.”

Without this legislation, employers will also face a 60 percent increase in unemployment insurance contributions.

Baker is hoping that lawmakers will approve the bill and limit those hikes to about 17 percent.

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