News Department

NJ Labor Department: Pandemic unemployment payments reach $5.2B

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has distributed $5.2 billion in unemployment benefits in the 11 weeks since efforts to battle the public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the state’s businesses and workforce.

For the week ending May 30, the Department received 27,000 new unemployment claims, a 22 percent decrease from the prior week, for a total of 1.2 million new claims since mid-March.

Additionally, all 70,000 workers who had exhausted their benefits have now been notified to start certifying for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides 13 weeks of additional benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week — the first week this new federal benefit was available in New Jersey — more than 7,000 certified for benefits.

“This pandemic has been especially difficult financially for claimants who had exhausted their unemployment benefits before it hit, and had to greatly reduce their work search because of the health crisis. We are proud to launch the PEUC program in New Jersey so we can deliver much-needed economic relief to these claimants,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “While we continue to make important strides in serving our customers, we won’t rest until every eligible claimant receives every penny they deserve.”

The weekly totals of new unemployment claims are: 

March 15 – 21
March 22 – 28 206,253
March 29 – April 4
April 5 – 11 141,420
April 12 – 18
April 19 – 25
April 26 – May 2
May 3 – May 9 69,689
May 10 – 16 42,365
May 17 – 23 34,410
May 24 – 30 26,752*
TOTAL 1,192,001

*This represents the final number for the week ended May 30. The number listed for NJ by US Department of Labor – 25,632 – is based on advanced reporting.

During the pandemic, 957,289 have claimed benefits.

Eligible claimants have received $1.9 billion in state unemployment payments since mid-March, $3 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments and $334 million in PUA payments.

The breakdown of weekly payments (in millions):

Week NJ UI Payment FPUC Payment PUA Payment
March 16 – 20
$47.4 NA NA
March 23 – 27 $57.9 NA NA
March 30 – April 3
$89.8 NA NA
April 6 – 10
$140.7 $154.8 NA
April 13 – 17
$179.7 $238.8 NA
April 20 – 24
$211.1 $296.3 NA
April 27 – May 1
$171.7 $291.1 $27.1
May 2 – May 8 $244.7 $502.4 $51.6
May 10 -16 $239.7 $414.0 $55.6
May 17 – 23 $236.2 $596.9 $112.3
May 24 – 30 $242.7 $553.5 $87.7
TOTAL $1,861.6 $3,047.8 $334.3

NA: Benefit not applicable during the indicated weeks.

FPUC, PUA and PEUC are federal programs authorized by Congress under the CARES Act. FPUC provides an additional $600 weekly benefit to anyone collecting unemployment for weeks ending April 4 through July 25. PUA provides benefits to newly eligible populations such as self-employed workers, independent contractors and those who do not have enough recent earnings to qualify for regular unemployment benefits, as well as for newly qualifying reasons such as being unable to work because due to caring for others or for their own COVID-19 illness. PEUC provides 13 weeks of federal benefits for those who have exhausted 26 weeks of state unemployment.

For more information on state or federal unemployment programs, visit and for more information on benefit extensions, click here.

Claimants collecting unemployment must certify for benefits each week to continue to receive payments. Information on certifying for unemployment can be found here.

Anyone looking for work is encouraged to visit New Jersey’s jobs portal — — which matches jobseekers with immediate openings in industries such as food distribution, warehousing and health care.

For national unemployment data, click here and for archived NJ claims data, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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