The Massachusetts unemployment rate surged above 15 percent in April, smashing four and a half decades of records as the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public shutdowns caused massive job losses.

The state’s unemployment rate surged to a record 15.1 percent in April amid widespread public shutdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

State labor officials announced Friday that Massachusetts shed 623,000 jobs in April, the first full month during which non-essential businesses were ordered to close their physical locations to employees and customers and most residents were urged to stay at home whenever possible.

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