A couple wear a protective masks due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak as they walk on the shore of Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts unemployment rate soared to 15.1% in April — up from about 2.8% in March — as the state’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus shuttered wide swaths of the economy, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 623,000 jobs in April, with the vast majority — 597,100 — coming from the private sector.

One of the hardest hit areas was leisure and hospitality, which saw a 61% drop after losing 216,200 jobs. Construction also took a huge hit, falling more than 37% after shedding 60,000 jobs.

Other areas that experienced heavy job losses include trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; and other services and government.

No sector gained jobs.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate in April was four-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national rate of 14.7%.

Massachusetts was among the state hardest hit by the virus.



One of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's Super Bowl rings put up for auction to raise funds for coronavirus relief has sold for more than $1 million.

Bidding for the Super Bowl 51 ring, commemorating the Patriots comeback from a 28-3 deficit for a 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons, ended Thursday with a winning bid of $1,025,000, according to the All-In Challenge.

The winning bidder's name was not disclosed.

Kraft said earlier he decided to auction the Super Bowl 51 ring because of the significance of the team's comeback. He also said he'd bring the winning bidder to Gillette Stadium to receive the ring in person when it was safe to do so.

All of the money raised by the All-In Challenge goes directly to Feeding America, Meals On Wheels, World Central Kitchen and No Kid Hungry.

The 5.1-carat weight white gold ring features 283 diamonds surrounding the Patriots logo and five Lombardi trophies.



Beaches in one of the state's most famous coastal communities are reopening Friday, but with restrictions in place to thwart the spread of the coronavirus.

Beachgoers are required to wear masks if they are not able to maintain proper social distancing, but don't have to wear them in the water. Groups of more than 10 people are prohibited and beach blankets must be spaced 12 feet apart. No ball games are allowed.

Good Harbor Beach is open at reduced capacity and restricted to residents only. Only a limited number of non-residents will be allowed at Wingaersheek Beach.

“We ask that everyone adheres to the rules in place to keep people safe and healthy so that our beaches can hopefully remain open, even at a health-conscious reduced capacity, until further notice,” Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken told The Gloucester Daily Times.