As a result of recent wage increases, the maximum weekly benefit for new unemployment claims in Massachusetts increased from $625 to $653 on October 2, 2011. Under Massachusetts law, the maximum weekly benefit equals 57.5 percent of the state’s average weekly wage, updated annually. According to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the average weekly wage in Massachusetts rose from $1,088.06 to $1,135.82 during the index period from March 2010 to March 2011.
The new rate does not affect benefit amounts for claimants who filed claims before October 2. Unemployment insurance benefits in Massachusetts equal 50 percent of the recipient’s average weekly wage up to the maximum weekly benefit.
The most recent figures available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration show that 28,983 initial unemployment claims were made in Massachusetts in September, the lowest monthly total so far this year. The average weekly benefit paid out during that month equaled $389.92.