BOSTON — The number of unemployment claims filed by Massachusetts workers crept up slightly last week, as fallout from the coronavirus continues to impact the state's fragile economy.

The state on Thursday reported 47,170 new unemployment claims filed last week — up 2,672 from the previous week.

Claims are up in all industries, with health care, education and professional services reporting the highest numbers, according to data released by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

New jobless claims have been slowly on the rise since late August, when the state saw a decline after months of historic unemployment levels.

To be sure, recent increases are nowhere near the hundreds of thousands of new weekly claims filed by workers at the peak of the outbreak, when state officials shut down most businesses to prevent spread of the virus.

Massachusetts' unemployment rate dropped to 9.6% in September — from 11.4% in August and 16.1% in July — after the state added nearly 37,000 jobs last month, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

The state's Unemployment Trust Fund, which pays for jobless benefits, will be more than $2.4 billion in the hole by the of the year, state officials say.

Earlier this week, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill bumping up state unemployment benefits for jobless workers who get less than $100 per week. That's the minimum needed to qualify for the extra $300 per week in payments from the federal Lost Wages Assistance program.

The new benefits are good for six weeks, or $1,800 per person.

The Baker administration estimates at least 17,000 jobless individuals will benefit from the higher state and federal payouts.

Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at

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