NEW JERSEY – Fueled in part by schools re-opening after Spring break, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported a significant week-over-week drop in new unemployment claims last week, and saw 130,000 fewer weekly claims than during the same week a year ago.
For the week ending April 10, a total of 11,344* new unemployment claims were filed, a 43 percent decline from the prior week, following two consecutive weekly increases in new claims. The Department has received 2,114,755** initial unemployment claims since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the state’s workforce last year, including 141,420 new claims for the week ending April 11, 2020.
The Department distributed $416 million in benefits last week, for a cumulative total of $26.5 billion in pandemic relief dispensed to jobless New Jersey workers. The average claimant in New Jersey has received $17,600 in benefits.
“While the number of people filing new claims for unemployment has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, the numbers are thankfully much lower than what we were witnessing a year ago. That’s great news for some residents, but the financial hardship of not having a job is still a reality for too many of our friends, neighbors and family. We must continue to work together to make sure every resident has the opportunity to return to work, and experience the dignity that a steady job provides,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
New Jersey is the only state to automate the federally required benefit year-end review and refiling of unemployment claims, a process that could have taken up to three months without this enhancement in place. New Jersey has extended benefits on more than 275,000 claims through automation in the past six weeks.
Here are the week-by-week totals of new unemployment claims:
*This represents the final number for the week ending April 10. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 10,743 – is based on advanced reporting.
**The number of new initial claims includes 255,901 claims that have been reopened by residents who returned to unemployment after a period of employment within a calendar year, as well as claims that turned out to be fraudulent.
Here is the breakdown of weekly benefits payments to eligible New Jersey workers:
The American Rescue Plan signed March 11 extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – the $300 supplement – to eligible claimants for 25 weeks, through Sept. 4.
The maximum eligibility for PUA is now 75 weeks. PEUC now provides up to 49 weeks of additional benefits to those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. Extended benefits (EB) adds a final 20 weeks of benefits, though that will drop to 13 weeks once the economy recovers sufficiently. The $300 FPUC supplement is for anyone collecting unemployment in any amount during eligible weeks. There is also a provision in the new rescue law that excludes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from having to be reported as income on federal taxes for households earning less than $150,000/year.
Visit New Jersey’s jobs portal here: jobs.covid19.nj.gov.